A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview

E

Eakins, Thomas (1844-1916). American painter, mainly of portraits, active for most of his life in his native Philadelphia. He began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts there 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, but his ideals were carried on by his successor * Anshutz. Eakins also caused controversy more than once because of the unsparing realism of his work. Financial support from his father enabled him to continue on his chosen course despite public abuse, but much of his later career was spent working in bitter isolation. In 1894 he wrote: 'My honours are misunderstanding, persecution, and neglect, enhanced because unsought.' 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. In 1917 a memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and Robert *Henri--one of Eakins's greatest admirers-- wrote an open letter to his students at the * Art Students League, urging them to study the work of the great man: 'His quality was honesty. "Integrity" is the word which seems best to fit him. Personally I consider him the greatest portrait painter America has produced.' This verdict is now shared by most critics; indeed, many consider him the greatest of all American painters. Eakins also made a few sculptures. Little of his work can be seen outside the USA; the best collection is in the Philadelphia Museum.

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.

Eames, Charles. See BERTOIA.

Eardley, Joan (1921-63). British painter, born in Sussex but considered Scottish (her mother was Scottish and she lived in Scotland from 1940). She studied at Goldsmiths' School of Art, London, 1938-9 (leaving because of the outbreak of war), * Glasgow School of Art, 1940-3, and after working for three years as a joiner's labourer, at the summer school at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, 1947. Her teacher there was James *Cowie; he perhaps helped to shape her preference for subjects drawn from everyday experience, but her approach was more earthy and sensuous than his. In 1948-9 she travelled abroad, mainly in Italy, on a scholarship awarded by the Royal Scottish Academy. After her return she divided her time between Glasgow (where she painted * Kitchen Sink type subjects) and the fishing village of Catterline, about 20 miles south of Aberdeen on the north-east coast. She discovered this fairly remote spot in 1950 and became increasingly devoted to it, acquiring a house and studio there. Her favourite subjects in her later years were the village and the sea, especially in stormy weather (she is said to have set off from her Glasgow home as soon as she heard reports of gales). The freely painted, often bleak and desolate works that resulted are among the most powerful and individual landscapes in 20th-century British art. After her early death from breast cancer her ashes were scattered on the beach at Catterline. Her work is well represented in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

Earnshaw, Harold. See ATTWELL.

earthwork. See LAND ART.

East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. See MORRIS, SIR CEDRIC.

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A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • A 1
  • B 46
  • C 106
  • D 154
  • E 189
  • F 204
  • G 228
  • H 264
  • I 293
  • J 299
  • K 308
  • L 332
  • M 360
  • N 426
  • O 450
  • P 461
  • Q 502
  • R 503
  • S 540
  • T 605
  • U 626
  • V 631
  • W 646
  • X 663
  • Y 665
  • Z 667
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