Saturday, July 25, 2009
THOMAS EAKINS b JULY 25 1844
"My honors are misunderstanding, persecution & neglect, enhanced because unsought."
this is one of his most famous paintings & one that got him into trouble. eakins seemed to stay in trouble w/the nay-sayers & moral watchdogs of his day. this picture was considered "too real," which was precisely what he was after here & in all his art. that's probably what drew him to photography.
eakins was one of the first artists who worked from actual photographs but he was one of the first artists period to work w/photography at all. his early photography is ground-breaking too. he got into trouble photographing his students which caused quite a bit of scandal since he didn't seem to care about the gender of whomever he was photographing. as a real bohemian, i don't think he cared about the gender of his sex partners either(tho he was married). he received some decent recognition during his life time for his artistic & teaching achievements but it was really only after his death that the accolades came.
the first one r-rated, the real one x-rated. needless to say, the gender/gay studies of the late 90's used these pictures on just about every book or article that was written during that period.
"Thomas Eakins was a man of great character. He was a man of iron will and his will to paint and to carry out his life as he thought it should go. This he did. It cost him heavily but in his works we have the precious result of his independence, his generous heart and his big mind. Eakins was a deep student of life, and with a great love he studied humanity frankly. He was not afraid of what his study revealed to him.
In the matter of ways and means of expression, the science of technique, he studied most profoundly, as only a great master would have the will to study. His vision was not touched by fashion. He struggled to apprehend the constructive force in nature and to employ in his works the principles found. His quality was honesty. "Integrity" is the word which seems best to fit him. Personally I consider him the greatest portrait painter America has produced." robert henri 1917