Portrait: A Life of Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins, a native of Philadelphia, painted two worlds one sure of its valuesthe surgeons, inventors, musicians, and athletes of his timeand another that reflected his own struggles with depression and sexual identity In this evenhanded account of those struggles, William S McFeely sheds new light on Eakins s genius and on the evocative melancholy of his portraits,Thomas Eakins, a native of Philadelphia, painted two worlds one sure of its valuesthe surgeons, inventors, musicians, and athletes of his timeand another that reflected his own struggles with depression and sexual identity In this evenhanded account of those struggles, William S McFeely sheds new light on Eakins s genius and on the evocative melancholy of his portraits, particularly of women, which include many of his remarkable wife, Susan McDowell Eakins Those deeply perceptive paintings may be the greatest expressions of his art.One of America s leading historians, McFeely has long been an interpreter of nineteenth century American writing A fascinating aspect of this narrative is how he brings the painter into the company of Thoreau, Melville, and Whitman, with whom Eakins formed a deep friendship The famous painting Swimming, for example, is likened to Walden, Typee, and to passages in Leaves of Grass.
Portrait A Life of Thomas Eakins Thomas Eakins a native of Philadelphia painted two worlds one sure of its valuesthe surgeons inventors musicians and athletes of his timeand another that reflected his own struggles with depressi

  • Title: Portrait: A Life of Thomas Eakins
  • Author: William S. McFeely Andrew J. Petto
  • ISBN: 9780393050653
  • Page: 456
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Portrait: A Life of Thomas Eakins”

    1. Again an overrated book. Pulitzer Prize winner McFeely trips all over himself in this biography of the realist painter. The facts are there but often embellished and his interpretations of those facts are highly questionable.

    2. A Conversational Biography of Thomas EakinsFor all of the information that is available about the life and times and legacy of Thomas Eakins (1844 - 1916), considered by many to be the first truly great American painter, each author who approaches the enigmatic artist takes a different stance. For William S. McFeely, an authoritative writer, the purpose of the direction of this book lies in the title - this is a portrait of the life of Eakins, and as such is more concerned with the intellectual, [...]

    3. I picked this book up because I really like Eakins and I really like rowing. I'm pretty disappointed so far because there is so little to go on. McFeely starts with two "facts" - Eakins' homosexuality and his depression - and constructs his story with very little backup. Almost nothing from Eakins himself and little more from his family. About all he has to go on are Eakins' paintings and his chronology.Greenblatt did a great job on the life of Shakespeare (Will in the World) using even less tha [...]

    4. Last year, after reading the lengthy "The Revenge of Thomas Eakins", I felt like I had a thorough background in the life of this important American artist. McFeely's slim volume (almost an illustrated essay), fully challenges the longer work.McFeely sees the pivotal issue in Eakins' life as his dismissal/resignation from the PA Academy. From this flows the answer to many questions about the lack of contemporary appreciation for his work and the subsequent lack of an "Eakins school" of painting. [...]

    5. Interesting bio of the Philadelphia painter who lived from 1844 to 1916. He 'came of age' during the Civil War, studied in Europe, taught painting, happily married to an artist -- BUT conflicted over his sexual orientation. Sigh! He should have just painted happily in his studio with his wife.

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