Thomas Eakins
(1844-1916)

Died aged c. 72

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some 40 years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philadelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons. In addition, Eakins produced a number of large paintings which brought the portrait out of the drawing room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject which most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective. Eakins also took a keen interest in the new technologies of motion photography, a field in which he is now seen as an innovator. No less important in Eakins' life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation. Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as "the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American art".

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Commemorated on 4 plaques

On this site from 1884 to 1900 Thomas Eakins had his studio and painted many of his most famous pictures. Thomas Eakins lived and worked in Philadelphia almost his entire life 1844-1916

705 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, United States where they had his studio (1884-1900) and painted (1884-1900)

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. America's oldest art museum and school, founded 1805 by Peale, Rush, and other artists. Trained here were Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Maxfield Parrish, John Marin, Charles Demuth and others. Furness and Hewitt designed the Neo-Gothic building, 1876.

At the Academy, 118 N Broad St., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they trained

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). One of the finest realist painters of his time. A master of the art of the human figure. His work included portraits and scenes of sporting and medical events such as The Gross Clinic. A lifelong Philadelphian, he had his home & studios here on Mt. Vernon St.

1729 Mt. Vernon St., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they lived and had his studio

Woodlands, The. Here, William Hamilton (1745-1813) created one of the finest landscape gardens of its day and introduced many exotic plants. His mansion and stable, built 1787-92, are early examples of the neoclassical Adamesque-Federal style. In 1840 the estate became one of the first large rural cemeteries in America. The writer S. Weir Mitchell, artist Thomas Eakins, nurse-reformer Alice Fisher, and architect Wilson Eyre are buried here.

4000 Woodland Ave., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they was buried (1916)