Queer Places:
The Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019, Stati Uniti
National Academy Museum & School, 1083 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, Stati Uniti
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, Stati Uniti
Thomas Jefferson University, 130 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Stati Uniti
Central High School, 1700 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19141, Stati Uniti
1330 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
1729 Mount Vernon Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Stati Uniti

Image result for Thomas EakinsThomas Cowperthwait Eakins (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 artists in American art history.[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 Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons.


1729 Mount Vernon Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


1330 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

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".[4]

The nature of Eakins sexuality and its impact on his art is a matter of intense scholarly debate. Strong circumstantial evidence points to Eakins having been accused of homosexuality during his lifetime, and there is little doubt that he was attracted to men,[76] 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.[77]

Until recently, major Eakins scholars persistently denied he was homosexual, and such discussion was marginalised. While there is still no consensus, today discussion of homoerotic desire plays a large role in Eakins scholarship.[78] The discovery of a large trove of Eakins' personal papers in 1984 has also driven reassessment of his life.[79]

Eakins met Emily Sartain, daughter of John Sartain, while studying at the academy. Their romance floundered after Eakins moved to Paris to study, and she accused him of immorality. It is likely Eakins had told her of frequenting places where prostitutes assembled. The son of Eakins' physician also reported that Eakins had been "very loose sexually—went to France, where there are no morals, and the french morality suited him to a T".[80]

In 1884, at age 40, Eakins married Susan Hannah Macdowell, the daughter of a Philadelphia engraver. Two years earlier Eakins' sister Margaret, who had acted as his secretary and personal servant, had died of typhoid. It has been suggested that Eakins married to replace her.[81] Macdowell was 25 when Eakins met her at the Hazeltine Gallery where The Gross Clinic was being exhibited in 1875. Unlike many, she was impressed by the controversial painting and she decided to study with him at the Academy, which she attended for six years, adopting a sober, realistic style similar to her teacher's. Macdowell was an outstanding student and winner of the Mary Smith Prize for the best painting by a matriculating woman artist.[82][83]After their childless[84] marriage, she only painted sporadically and spent most of her time supporting her husband's career, entertaining guests and students, and faithfully backing him in his difficult times with the academy, even when some members of her family aligned against Eakins. She and Eakins both shared a passion for photography, both as photographers and subjects, and employed it as a tool for their art. She also posed nude for many of his photos and took images of him. Both had separate studios in their home. After Eakins' death in 1916, she returned to painting, adding considerably to her output right up to the 1930s, in a style that became warmer, looser, and brighter in tone. She died in 1938. Thirty-five years after her death, in 1973, she had her first one-woman exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.[82]

In the latter years of his life, Eakins' constant companion was the handsome sculptor Samuel Murray, who shared his interest in boxing and bicycling. The evidence suggests the relationship was more emotionally important to Eakins than that with his wife.[85]

Throughout his life, Eakins appears to have been drawn to those who were mentally vulnerable and then preyed upon those weaknesses. Several of his students ended their lives in insanity.[86]

Eakins died on June 25, 1916, at the age of 72 and is buried at The Woodlands, which is located near the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia.[87]


Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO


Princeton University, NJ


Yale University, New Haven, CT


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Thomas_Eakins