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New in the gallery -- James Owen Mahoney (1907-1987)

New in the Gallery -- Thomas Eakins (1844-1917)

 

Thomas Eakins (1844-1917) -- The Bathers

(From the artist's Wikipedia entry:)

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (/ˈeɪkɪnz/; July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer,[1] sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important American artists.[2][3]
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 contemporary Philadelphia; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons.
In addition, Eakins produced a number of large paintings that 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 that 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.
 
Self portrait
 
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".[4]
The nature of Eakins' sexuality and its impact on his art is a matter of intense scholarly debate. Strong circumstantial evidence points to discussion during Eakins's lifetime that he had homosexual leanings, and there is little doubt that he was attracted to men,[78] as evidenced in his photography, and three major paintings where male buttocks are a focal point: The Gross Clinic, Salutat, and The Swimming Hole. The latter, in which Eakins appears, is increasingly seen as sensuous and autobiographical.[79]
Until recently, major Eakins scholars persistently denied he was homosexual, and such discussion was marginalized. While there is still no consensus, today discussion of homoerotic desire plays a large role in Eakins scholarship.[80] The discovery of a large trove of Eakins' personal papers in 1984 has also driven reassessment of his life.[81]
 

The Bathers have been cited and parodied abundantly; here's one nice example from Philip Gladstone's oeuvre:
 
Philip Gladstone -- "I'd rather sink than call for help"
 
 
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