Thomas Eakins American
was born in Philadelphia on July 25, 1844.
He passed the major part of his life there with the exception
of a period of training in Europe, 1866-70. He studied in
Paris with Gérôme, but learnt most from the Spanish
painters, Velázquez and Ribera, absorbing a precise
and uncompromising sense for actuality which he applied to
portraiture and genre pictures of the life of his native city
(boating and bathing were favorite themes).
He began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
in 1876 and was attacked for his radical ideas, particularly
his insistence on working from nude models. In 1886 he was
forced to resign after allowing a mixed class to draw from
a completely nude male model. Eakins's quest for realism led
him to study anatomy and make full use of Muybridge's photographic
researches, but the scientific bent in his work is of less
importance than his honesty and depth of characterization.
His portraits are often compared to Rembrandt's
because of their dramatic play of sombre lighting and sense of inner truth. The most
famous of his paintings is The Gross Clinic
(Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia,
1875), which aroused controversy because of its unsparing depiction of surgery, an
experience that was repeated with The Agnew Clinic
(University of Pennsylvania,
Because of financial support from his father, Eakins could
continue on his chosen course despite public abuse, but much
of his later career was spent working in bitter isolation.
It was only near the end of his life that he achieved recognition
as a great master, and in the first two decades of the 20th
century his desire to "peer deeper into the heart of
American life" was reflected in the work of the Ashcan
School and other Realist painters.
As well as being a painter and photographer, Eakins also made
a few sculptures. His wife, Susan Hannah Macdowell Eakins
(1851-1938), whom he married in 1884, was also a painter and
photographer, as well as an accomplished pianist.
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Revenge of Thomas Eakins (Hardcover) by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick 576 pages
Yale University Press (March 28, 2006)
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review: Biographer Kirkpatrick brings the cinematic
clarity of a documentary filmmaker to this portrait of Thomas Eakins, the controversial
Philadelphia portrait artist whose "failure to abide by the artistic trends that
defined his times" resulted in work that was richly interesting and highly controversial.
Kirkpatrick takes considerable pains to portray the contradictory philosophical moorings
and childlike prurience that marked Eakins's eccentric career. Prior to Eakins's resignation
from the Pennsylvania Academy amid muddied allegations of impropriety, his students
held himand the capital "E" he would place on canvases in which he saw
marked improvementin great esteem. And though he was a pioneer in the use of photography
and a champion of nude modeling (he was "starved for the nude," as one woman
who knew him put it), Eakins's stubborn social gracelessness and proclivity for intrigue
made his place in the Philadelphia art world "something like that of a blacklisted
Hollywood screenwriter." Kirkpatrick's ability to suggest, through the use of letters
and family anecdotes, that Eakins was aware ofand to a degree, fosteredthe
Byronic attitude (drafting his own obituary, Eakins wrote, "My honors are misunderstanding,
persecution, & neglect, enhanced because unsought") that characterized his career
is both brilliant and subtle. But most importantly, Kirkpatrick gives Eakins convincing
depth that reminds readers of the ways biography can enhance appreciation of art. Copyright
© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Eakins: Retrospective Exhibition - Whitney Museum of American
Art - September 22 - November 21, 1970 (Exhibition Catalogue,
19th & 20th Century American Art)
by Lloyd Goodrich Paperback Publisher: Whitney Museum
of American Art (1970)
Eakins (Ailsa Mellon Bruce Studies in American Art)
by Lloyd Goodrich Hardcover Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 1982)
Unlike his aristocratic contemporaries John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase,
the great 19th-century realist painter Thomas Eakins depicted more prosaic topics, such
as people boxing and rowing and musicians at work. While his pictures lack the enigmatic
air that his peers achieved, in his passion and exactitude Eakins can be favorably compared
with his idols Vel zquez and Rembrandt. He was both a hero to his students and an outcast
from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, where he was forced to resign in 1886 after daring
to study the male nude with female students. This enormous volume accompanies the largest
retrospective of his work yet, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition
to 60 well-known easel pictures, the exhibition and this catalog includes some 120 photographs
as well as examples of his work in watercolor, drawing, and sculpture. As an event,
it's a turning point in expanding Eakins's reputation; only in recent decades have critics
taken note of his efforts beyond painting. Several lengthy and interesting biocritical
essays, themselves making up 175 pages of text, separate four sections of color plates.
This is clearly the definitive monograph on one of the most significant artists America
has produced. Recommended for all libraries. Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L.,
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Watercolors (Famous Artists Series) by Donelson F. Hoopes Paperback:
88 pages Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; Reissue edition (July 1988)
Thomas Eakins by Darrel Sewell (Editor) Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher:
Yale University Press (October 1, 2001)
Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is one of the most fascinating and important personalities
in the history of American art. His memorable and much-loved scenes of rowing, sailing,
and boxing as well as his deeply moving portraits are renowned for their vibrant realism
and dramatic intensity. This beautiful and insightful book, published in conjunction
with a major exhibition on the life and career of Eakinsthe first in twenty yearspresents
a fresh perspective on the artist and his remarkable accomplishments. Lavishly illustrated
with more than 250 of Eakins's most significant paintings, watercolors, drawings, and
sculpture, the book features essays by prominent scholars who place his art in the context
of the history and culture of late nineteenth-century Philadelphia, where he lived.
The contributors also discuss how Eakins applied his French academic training to subjects
that were distinctly American and part of his own immediate and complex experience.
Eakins's own photographs, which he used as part of his unique creative process, are
also examined for the first time in the full context of his life's work.
Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life by Elizabeth Johns
Paperback Reprint edition (April 1991) Princeton Univ
Eakins: Scenes From Modern Life Director: Glenn Holsten
Color, Letterboxed, Special Edition, NTSC
DVD Release Date: September 5, 2002
Run Time: 58 minutes
Eakins: Scenes From Modern Life Director: Glenn Holsten
Release Date: November 1, 2001
Run Time: 60 minutes
Narrated by Stage and Screen star Blythe Danner, this DVD contains
the full documentary feature and an additional hour of mutli-media
content and mini documentaries, Eakins' Neighborhood; The Centennial
Exhibition of 1876; The Unfinished Portrait; The Bregler Collection;
Punctuated by contemporary footage of the scenery displayed
in his body of work. This program provides tremendous insight
into the work and character of this American original is derived
by interviews with curators and conservators of the Philadelphia
Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well
as scholars from many universities who share their extensive
study of Eakins with the audience.
WHYY Producer Glenn Holsten follows Eakins' travels with HDTV (High Definition TV) equipment
to Paris, France; Seville, Spain; North Dakota; and throughout Philadelphia to explore
and film the places where Eakins found inspiration. Fascinated by the rapidly changing
world, especially in Philadelphia, Eakins recorded the morphing of the times in which
he lived. HDTV equipment captures every nuanced brush stroke in Eakins' work that enhances
this DVD version.
Bonus CD of the soundtrack included.
Eakins: The Rowing Pictures by Helen A. Cooper, Martin A.
Berger (Contributor), Christina Currie (Contributor), Amy Werbel
(Contributor) Paperback: 140 pages Publisher: YU Art Gallery; New
Ed edition (July 11, 1998)
Thomas Eakins` extraordinary rowing picturessome of the most
celebrated and recognized images in the history of American art-appear
together for the first time in this beautiful book. Fascinating
information about the sport of rowing and its heroes, about Eakins`
development as an artist, and about nineteenth-century social, cultural,
and artistic concerns accompanies the twenty-four oil paintings,
watercolors, and drawings of this extraordinary series.
A Life of Thomas Eakins by William S. McFeely Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher:
W. W. Norton (November 20, 2006)
Thomas Eakins, a native of Philadelphia, painted two worlds:
one sure of its valuesthe surgeons, inventors, musicians,
and athletes of his timeand another that reflected his
own struggles with depression and sexual identity. In this evenhanded
account of those struggles, William S. McFeely sheds new light
on Eakins's genius and on the evocative melancholy of his portraits,
particularly of women, which include many of his remarkable
wife, Susan McDowell Eakins. Those deeply perceptive paintings
may be the greatest expressions of his art.
One of America's leading historians, McFeely has long been an
interpreter of nineteenth-century American writing. A fascinating
aspect of this narrative is how he brings the painter into the
company of Thoreau, Melville, and Whitman, with whom Eakins
formed a deep friendship. The famous painting Swimming, for
example, is likened to Walden, Typee, and to passages in Leaves
of Grass.16 pages of color; 40 black-and-white illustrations.
Thomas Eakins: A Retrospective Exhibition - National Gallery of Art,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC - 10 /8/61 - 11/12/61
by Lloyd Goodrich Paperback Publisher: National Gallery
of Art / Smithsonian Institution (1961)
The Thomas Eakins Collection of the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture
Phyllis D. Rosenzweig, Foreword by Abram Lerner Hardcover
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press (1977)
Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art by William Innes
Homer Hardcover, 276 pages (November 1992) Abbeville
From Library Journal: Skilled technician in oils, sculptor, photographer, teacher,
illustrator, and close observer of anatomy and movement, Eakins (1844-1916) has long
stood as an anti-establishment hero in the history of American art. Noted art historian
Homer reevaluates this Philadelphian's controversial career in an extraordinarily handsome
critical biography. Of the 240 illustrations, 100 are color plates of Eakins's unidealized
yet evocative portraits, sporting scenes, and history paintings. Many of the remaining
illustrations are intriguing photographs of Eakins, his sitters, and studies for his
canvases. Appendixes include a chronology and footnotes. An outstanding volume worthy
of all lovers of American art, both scholarly and lay. Kathleen Eagen Johnson,
Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, N.Y.
Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded-Age
Manhood (Men and Masculinity) by Martin A. Berger
Paperback, Published: August 7, 2000)
Often censured during his lifetime for his insistence on studying
and painting from the nude, Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is now
acclaimed as one of America's greatest realist painters. Man
Made examines Eakins's art and life, illustrating how the artist
used his canvases to cope with the complex requirements of Victorian
gender. Martin Berger reads a series of Eakins's paintings,
ranging from early to late works, giving a nuanced and elegant
examination of Eakins's portrayal of white, middle-class manhood.
This provocative cultural art history treats these paintings
in terms of what they reveal about Eakins's own identity as
well as the nation's changing ideals of manhood during the final
years of the nineteenth century.
Thomas Eakins by John Wilmerding (Editor) Hardcover: 212 pages Publisher: Smithsonian
Books (November 1, 1993)
Eakins's subjects gaze intently at the world before them and,
even more so, at their inner visions. These are the "warts
and all" of the soul of Philadelphia society in the aftermath
of the Civil War. Published on the occasion of a unique show
at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the first there
of a "great foreign artist who did not practise in (indeed
never visited) this country," this work is the most complete
study available of a provocative and penetrating genius. It
combines the talents and insights of 30 Eakins scholars in its
examination of the paintings and in recently rediscovered photographs
by the artist. The discussion of Eakins's great interest in
photography and its impact upon his work provides an added dimension
to these insights. With excellent illustrations and an extensive
bibliography, this scholarly work is an outstanding resource
for all art libraries.Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum
of Art Lib., New York Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information,
Eakins and the Swimming Picture by Doreen Bolger (Editor),
Sarah Cash (Editor) Paperback (February 1996) Amon Carter Museum
This softcover, 152 page book examines a single painting that
is now widely regarded as an American masterpiece: Swimming,
completed in 1885 by the Philadelphia artist, Thomas Eakins
Thomas Eakins Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
by Phyllis D. Rosenzweig (Compiler), Abram Lerner Paperback,
142 pages Reprint edition (October 1979) Univ of Chicago Press
Thomas Eakins Rediscovered: Charles Bregler's Thomas Eakins
Collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
by Kathleen A. Foster, Mark Bockrath Hardcover, 512 pages
(January 1998) Yale Univ Press
More than fifty years ago, a treasury of studio materialincluding oil sketches,
sculptures, drawings, photographs, and manuscriptswas rescued from the empty house
of Thomas Eakins by a devoted student, Charles Bregler. This book is both a catalogue
of the Bregler collection and a reassessment of Eakins`s career as read through the
newly discovered materials.
The Life and Work of Thomas Eakins
by Gordon Hendricks Hardcover: 367 pages Publisher: Grossman Publishers (1974)
Thomas Eakins: A Motion Portrait (1986) Starring:
U.S. and Canada only
Run Time: 55 minutes
This film combines dramatic sequences, still photography and
interviews into a moving portrait of one of the greatest American
painters of nudes in the early twentieth century. Narrated by
Sam Waterston, this program originally premiered on PBS as part
of the "American Visionaries" art history series.
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