August 2003

Thomas Eakins
Painting Pure Thought

by Louis Torres

Contemplating a work of art, especially for the first time, ought to be a private affair. One cannot truly experience painting (or sculpture) through another person's eyes. Ideally, one should view a work on its, and one's own, terms--before reading or hearing what some expert, real or alleged, says about it, or about the life and times of the artist who made it.

To that end, I have compiled a list (below) of the paintings I discuss in "Thomas Eakins: Painting Pure Thought," with links to some of the best online images currently available. I urge you to view them first, and then turn to the essay. Keep in mind that color, texture, and scale are all distorted to varying degrees. Still, the quality of images is often remarkably high, and the rewards of viewing art online can be considerable. (Click on thumbnail images of paintings for enlargements.)

Works discussed in the text are linked to images there as well, so that you can easily toggle back and forth between reading and viewing. There are many additional links--to other paintings, to photographs, and to critical essays and reviews. Go to each of them, or not, as you wish, while reading. You can always return later. --L. T.

Paintings by Eakins

The Champion Single Sculls (Max Schmitt in a Single Scull) (1871). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The Pair-Oared Shell (1872). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Biglin Brothers Turning the Stake-Boat (1873). The Cleveland Museum of Art.

John Biglin in a Single Scull (1873-74). Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven, Conn.

Elizabeth at the Piano (1875). Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

The Gross Clinic (1875). Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

Baby at Play (1876). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.

Shad Fishing at Gloucester on the Delaware River (1881). Ball State University Museum of Art, Muncie, Ind.

Shad Fishing at Gloucester on the Delaware River (1881). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Mending the Net (1881). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Writing Master (Portrait of Benjamin Eakins) (1882). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Arcadia (1883). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Swimming (1884-85). Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Portrait of Amelia C. Van Buren (c. 1891). The Phillips Collection, Washington, D. C.

Portrait of Maud Cook (1895). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

The Cello Player (1896). Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

Portrait of Henry Ossawa Tanner (1897). The Hyde Collection Art Museum, Glens Falls, NY.

Portrait of Susan Macdowell Eakins (Mrs. Thomas Eakins) (c.1899). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.

The Thinker (Portrait of Louis N.Kenton) (1900). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Self-Portrait (1902). National Academy of Design, New York.

The Oboe Player (Portrait of Dr. Benjamin Sharp) (1903). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"Thomas Eakins: Painting Pure Thought" // Letter on Eakins Article // Further Viewing and Reading