Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Today's birthday. Thomas Eakins, America's 19th century master realist painter

July 25, 2017. Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 - June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer,[2] sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. In this image: A person views Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic," at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, on Jan. 5, 2007. To help finance a $68 million deal to keep the masterpiece in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, that it has sold another Eakins painting, "The Cello Player."

The critic Clement Greenberg once described Thomas Eakins’s signature brand of darkness as “an ideal chiaroscuro.” Eakins was known to knock down even the brightness of a cheerful blue sky with a sober dimming wash. (article on cleaning the painting by Randy Kennedy, July18, 2010) 

Thomas Eakins, The Swimming Hole, 1884/5
Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 46 1/4 in.
(Courtesy Amon Carter Museum)

,,, One of the things that I liked about Eakins is that his work is not controversial for the sake of being controversial; there’s no sense of “look at what I did, see how modern and transgressive and just oh-so-chic I am.” He certainly had the ego and used it, sometimes to his own detriment, but the grand standing that so often passes for talent in modern art is just not on display.

From an article that i wrote for the blog Venetian Red: https://venetianred.wordpress.com/tag/manly-pursuits/ 

The Gross Clinic

Thomas Eakins: The Champion Single Scull (Max Schmitt in a Single Scull), 1871
Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 46 1/4 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Wrestlers, 1899, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California



1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

Being from Philadelphia, I always knew the name of Thomas Eakins but wasn't really familiar with his work. Actually, though, I had seen the "Wrestlers" painting before, but didn't know the artist. I understand what they're saying about Mr. Eakins dimming down things, but I still like his work. His body depictions are good and his attention to detail is amazing.