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Thomas Eakins letters, 1866-1934

Thomas Eakins letters, 1866-1934

Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916

Sculptor, Painter, Photographer

Representative image for Thomas Eakins letters, 1866-1934

The letters of Thomas Eakins were digitized in 2006 by the Archives of American Art. The letters have been scanned in their entirety, and total 143 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 0.2 linear feet

Summary: The letters of Thomas Eakins measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1866 to 1934. They primarily document the period between 1866 and 1869 that he spent studying art in Paris, as well as his career as a portrait artist.

Biographical/Historical Note

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) was a painter and art instructor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Provenance

Original letters were donated 1972 by Dr. Caroline Crowell, daughter of Fanny Eakins Crowell and neice of Thomas Eakins, via Prof. Marian Davis of the University of Texas. Copies were donated 1962-1963 by Irving Levitt, the Joslyn Art Museum, and Lawrence Fleischman.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Correspondence with J. Laurie Wallace: Originals in the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Neb.
  • Letters to William R. Hallowell: Originals returned to the lender, Irving Levitt, Detroit, Mich.
  • Photographic copies of 1866 letter from Fussell and letter to mother: Location of originals unknown.

A Finding Aid to the Thomas Eakins Letters, 1866-1934, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.eakithom
Biographical Note
Realist painter Thomas Eakins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1844. He was encouraged by his parents to develop his talent in art, and in 1862 he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Also during this period Eakins developed an interest in anatomy, revealed later in the realistically detailed
Gross Clinic
, painted in 1875. In 1866 he moved to Paris, where he studied painting with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for three years, and briefly with sculptor Augustin-Alexandre Dumont and painter Léon Bonnat. He toured Spain for six months in 1870 and then returned to Philadelphia to become a portrait artist. Eakins began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and became its director of instruction in 1882. During this period he also met fellow artist Susan MacDowell and they were married in 1884. While at the Academy, he promoted a curriculum based on the study of the human figure, and began using photography as a method of study for his paintings. A dispute over the use of nude models forced Eakins to resign from the Academy in 1886, but he continued painting and exhibiting until his death in 1916.
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, items are categorized into one series consisting of five folders. Items are arranged chronologically.
Provenance
Original letters were donated 1972 by Dr. Caroline Crowell, daughter of Fanny Eakins Crowell and neice of Thomas Eakins, via Prof. Marian Davis of the University of Texas. Copies were donated 1962-1963 by Irving Levitt, the Joslyn Art Museum, and Lawrence Fleischman.
Location of Originals
  • Correspondence with J. Laurie Wallace: Originals in the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Neb.
  • Letters to William R. Hallowell: Originals returned to the lender, Irving Levitt, Detroit, Mich.
  • Photographic copies of 1866 letter from Fussell and letter to mother: Location of originals unknown.
Processing Information
The collection received some preliminary processing and was microfilmed upon receipt on reels 640 and 2803. The collection was fully re-processed, arranged and described by Erin Corley in 2005 and the bulk of it was scanned, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Thomas Eakins letters, 1866-1934. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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