Thomas Eakins

(1844-1916)

Thomas Eakins was born in 1844. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In addition to his artistic studies, he pursued anatomy at the Jefferson Medical School. Eakins is one of America's best Realist artists, specifying in portraiture and figurative subjects such as the "Gross Clinic". This painting depicts the surgeon Samuel Gross, at work with students quietly observing. He also painted in the modern genre and sports subjects, including a boxing series done in the 1890s. Eakins' scientific study in the mechanics of nature provided him with precise information applied to his technique. Eakins was a teacher at the PAFA from 1873-1886. He emphasized the importance of anatomy in order for students to understand figural composition. Eakins resigned in 1886 after a dispute over removing cloth that covered a model in his class. After his resignation, Eakins organized a Philadelphia Art Students League but it only lasted a few years. Eakins was also a talented photographer, using his pictures as studies for paintings as well as an independent art in itself. Babcock Galleries, NYC, liquidated Eakins estate shortly after his death in 1916.