A rare pictorial map of Long Island, New York, celebrating American aviation. The unusual cartographic composition combines several maps in one: detailed maps of aviation fields such as Roosevelt Field and Newark are shown around an overall map of Long Island, including Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean, and the opposite shoreline of parts of New York and New England. Airports and pastures where planes could be landed are indicated. The outer border has printed names of aviators such as Earhart, Lindbergh and Post; manufacturers such as Grumman, Bendix, Whitney and Sikorsky; Long Island towns such as Hicksville and Port Washington; and airlines such as American, United and the now-defunct Eastern and TWA. The map includes numerous illustrations of airplanes identified by the aviators who flew them, as well as a number of other aviation names and pictures, apparently inside references and humor known to Sloan and his colleagues.
The map utilizes the unusual print process of ink on aluminum metal foil, embossed in relief, which suits the aeronautical subject matter. Each map was apparently hand printed and inked by the artist, who would then add custom elements such as the dedication (George Glazer Gallery has owned another example with a different dedication).
Eric Sloane was born in New York City. He was an artist and self-educated Renaissance man: author, illustrator, painter and possibly the first TV weatherman. Initially trained in sign painting and lettering, he left home as a teenager to become an itinerant artist, painting signs on barns and stores. Back in the New York area and fascinated by aviation, he began painting lettering on airplanes at Roosevelt Field in Long Island. He traded painting lessons for flying lessons with the famous aviator Wiley Post. Aviation led to a lifelong passion of painting clouds and skies. He also was a prolific painter of landscapes, especially marsh scenes and picturesque rural vistas. Probably his best-known painting is Earth Flight Environment, a mural in the lobby of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Sloane also authored 38 books on American history, rural architecture, Early American tools, weather and aviation. According to his web site, "Sloane is credited with being the first television weatherman, having come up with the idea of having farmers from all over New England call in their weather observations to a Dumont, New York TV station where they could be broadcast to the regional audience." His collection of antique tools is housed in the Sloane Stanley Museum in Kent, Connecticut. A colorful character, Sloane lived to age 80 and was married five times.
Dedication lower center: "Socked into metal for Bill Griffith by the Old Metal Socker Eric Sloane 1937."
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall wear. Some minor loss of ink detail, scattered abrasions and tiny dents and creases. Some pencil sketches and doodles, verso, probably in the hand of the artist.
Smith, Marshall. "A Short Biography of Eric Sloane." Eric Sloane. 1 November 1999. http://www.ericsloane.com/ (19 May 2009).