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Thomas Eakins (American, 1844 - 1916)
1891. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20". 1948.017
Along with Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins is the most celebrated American Realist painter of the nineteenth century. Eakins is also one of the great nineteenth-century portrait painters. He studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the French Academy and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He insisted that his students develop a rigorous knowledge of anatomy for figure-painting, and he also emphasized the importance of portraying a sitter’s emotional and psychological state. Here, Eakins has painted a popular Philadelphia contralto as distant, fragile, and sad.