The Revenge of Thomas Eakins by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick sheds light into the life of this truly gifted artist, who was not only ahead of his time, but severely misunderstood.
Thomas Eakins was an American from Philadelphia, who ventured to Paris and ended up studying with one of my favorite French Masters Jean Léone Gérôme. The book is well written and follows Eakins life from boyhood into maturing artist. It talks about the rigorous art training Eakins received while studying in France and how he adopted what he was taught to create his own style and techniques. I also find his overall attitude towards the conventions of the time extremely interesting and it shows that no matter in which era an artist tries to establish him/herself there are always certain aspects that have to be followed in order to attain success. It is a wonderfully well written book and I highly recommend it to all my artist friends.
The Writing Master, 1882
Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
Oil on canvas; 30 x 34 1/4 in. (76.2 x 87 cm)
Robert Henri's open letter to the Art Students League about Thomas Eakins, (29th October, 1917):
“ 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."
Read other posts about Thomas Eakins Work:
The Gross Clinic detailed study of a painting.