Exhibit Celebrates Thomas Eakins. (Philadelphia)

Art Business News, December 2001 | Go to article overview

Exhibit Celebrates Thomas Eakins. (Philadelphia)


Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), one of the most controversial and influential American artists of the 19th century, is the subject of a new major exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On view are some 60 major oil paintings, together with examples of Eakins' work in watercolor, drawing and sculpture. Eakins was one of the earliest American artists to make photography an integral part of his creative process, according to show organizers, and the exhibit includes 120 photographs by the artist and his circle.

Eakins was born in Philadelphia and pursued art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was among the first generation of American artists who flocked to Paris for artistic training. Unlike his contemporaries, however, he was determined to apply Beaux-Arts techniques to subjects that were distinctly American and reflected his own experience. While he did not achieve commercial success during his lifetime, his art was nonetheless widely discussed and exhibited.

Eakins' preoccupation with athletics is reflected in his famous scenes of rowing, sailing, fishing and boxing, among other sports.

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