Difference between revisions of "Thomas Eakins"

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[[Image:Eakins.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Thomas Eakins (''Self Portrait'', 1902)]]
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'''Thomas Eakins''' (1844-1916) was an American painter who concentrated in the subject of [[Realism |realism]], and the first great painter in the period after the [[American Civil War]].  His masterpiece, ''The Gross Clinic'', was recently sold for a staggering $68,000,000, the highest price paid for an American portrait, despite being critically rejected by his contemporaries during the time it was created.
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==Early life==
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[[Image:Writing master.jpg|thumb|150px|left|Eakins portrayed his father, Benjamin, in ''The Writing Master'' (1882)]]
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Except for a period of study in Europe and a trip to the western United States, Eakins lived his entire life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Here he learned manual dexterity and precision from his father, a master of the art of writing and calligraphy.  He had a sound education, doing well in his studies, especially math and the sciences.  His interest in art led him to enroll in the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, where he developed his knowledge of the live model by attending medical lectures in anatomy at the nearby Jefferson Medical College, witnessing operations and dissections by Doctor Samuel Gross, one of the 19th century's brilliant American surgeons.
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To further his studies in art, he went to France in 1866 and enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts for three years, then going to Spain in 1869, where his studies were influenced by the 17th century paintings of [[Diego Velazquez]], [[José de Ribera]], and especially the Dutch painter [[Rembrandt]].  Rejecting the European [[Impressionism|impressionists]], he preferred those who created a bold sense of life and applied that to his own, working in the oil medium.
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==Return to Philadelphia==
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By 1870 Eakins was back in Philadelphia, creating his first portraits from his family members and those of his fiancée, Katherine Crowell.  These portraits were domestic settings, involving children at play or pets, employing an exactness of color, expression, and mood.  From there he would paint outdoor life and sports with a candid realism; his ''Max Schmitt in a Single Scull'' was a mastery of perspective, of light and shadow, and color and composition.
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==''The Gross Clinic''==
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[[Image:Gross Clinic.JPG|thumb|150px|right|Thomas Eakins' ''The Gross Clinic'' (1875)]]
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In 1875 Eakins embarked on a painting intended for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and as his subject he returned to Jefferson Medical College where he sat and observed the teaching of Dr. Gross.  The result was a large painting, ''The Gross Clinic'', which showed Gross standing before his students in a moment of explanation, the bloody scalpel in his hand fresh from opening an incision for his assistants, while the patient's mother flings an arm before her face to shield herself from the scene, her emotions in sharp contrast to the patience displayed by Dr. Gross.
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The public and press responded to ''The Gross Clinic'' unfavorably, and Eakins was forced to display it in a medical section of the Exposition, rather than the actual art exhibition; eventually it would reside nearly forgotten in the Jefferson Medical College for years.  Eakins was dismayed that the frank realism displayed in ''The Gross Clinic'' represented pain and suffering, according to the critics, and could not be called entertaining, as paintings were assumed to be during that time.
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==Later period==
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[[Image:Artists wife and setter.jpg|thumb|150px|left|Thomas Eakins' ''Lady with her Setter Dog'', (1885).  This painting portrays Susan Macdowell, a pupil who became his wife in 1884.]]
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In the late 1870s Eakins was teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, concentrating on drawing and painting.  In a departure from Victorian norms, he removed the practice of drawing and painting from antique sculptures and replaced them with live nude models.  Unfortunately, Eakins could not convince many outside his classroom walls that painting from nudes was innocent in practice, and he was forced to resign from the Academy in 1886.
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==Paintings==
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[[Image:Maxschmidt.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Thomas Eakins' ''Max Schmitt in a Single Scull'' (1871)]]
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[[Image:Eakins The Courtship.jpg|thumb|200px|right|The Courtship]]
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*''Street Scene in Seville'' 1870, Mrs. John R. Garrett, Sr. Collection
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*''Home Scene'' 1871, Brooklyn Museum, New York
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*''Max Schmitt in a Single Scull'' 1871, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
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*''Katherine'' 1872, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
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*''The Pair-Oared Shell'' 1872, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''The Biglin Brothers Turning the Stake'' 1873, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
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*''John Biglin in a Single Scull'' 1873, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
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*''Sailing'' 1874, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Pushing for Rail'' 1874, Metropolitan Museum of Art
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*''The Gross Clinic'' 1875, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (joint display)
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*''Will Schuster and Blackman Going Shooting'' 1876, Yale University Art Gallery
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*''Chess Players'' 1876, Metropolitan Museum of Art
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*''William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River'' 1877, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''The Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand'' 1879, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''The Crucifixion'' 1880, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Mending the Net'' 1881, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Singing a Pathetic Song'' 1881, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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*''The Writing Master'' 1882, Metropolitan Museum of Art
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*''The Swimming Hole'' 1883, Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
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*''Lady with a Setter Dog'' 1885, Metropolitan Museum of Art
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*''Walt Whitman'' 1887, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
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*''Letitia Wilson Jordan Bacon'' 1888, Brooklyn Museum, New York City
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*''Miss Van Buren'' 1889, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
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*''The Agnew Clinic'' 1889, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
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*''Professor Henry A. Rowland'' 1891, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
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*''The Concert Singer'' 1892, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Frank Hamilton Cushing'' 1894–95, Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, OK
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*''Taking the Count'' 1898, Yale University Art Gallery
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*''Salutat'' 1898, Addison Gallery of American Art
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*''Between Rounds'' 1899, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Benjamin Eakins'' 1899, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''Mrs. William D. Frishmuth'' 1900, Philadelphia Museum of Art
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*''The Thinker: Louis N. Kenton'' 1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art
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*''Self-Portrait'' 1902, National Academy of Design, New York City
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*''Mrs. Edith Mahon'' 1904, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts
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*''Monsignor Diomede Falconio'' 1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
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==References==
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*Sewell, Darrel. ''Thomas Eakins'', Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut (2001)
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*Homer, William Innes. ''Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art'', Abbeville Press, New York (1992)
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*Foster, Kathleen A. ''Thomas Eakins Rediscovered: Charles Bregler`s Thomas Eakins Collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts'', Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut (1998)
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==External links==
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*[http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/eakins_thomas.html Thomas Eakins] Artcyclopedia.
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*[http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/19/arts/design/19shat.html?ex=1321592400&en=a8afee83b90ae480&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss. New York Times article on the sale of ''The Gross Clinic'' by Kathryn Shattuck, Nov. 19, 2006]
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*[http://www.artchive.com/artchive/E/eakins.html The Artchive article on Eakins, which includes a selection of his paintings]
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[[Category:American Painters|Eakins, Thomas]]
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Revision as of 15:47, 18 August 2010

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