This painting is thought to be the first example of a work in which Thomas Eakins used a photographic source for his subject. Special infrared photography has revealed that Eakins used a carefully-constructed grid of pencilwork to scale the painting up from its photographic source. Henry Schreiber was one of Eakins’ close friends; he also happened to be one of Philadelphia’s leading commercial photographers. In fact, it was Schreiber who took the picture that was the source for this painting; it was reproduced on the cover of “The Philadelphia Photographer” in 1873.
Eakins was a leading American realist as well as an influential teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1879, Eakins argued that students should learn to paint directly from life rather than by drawing from models, stating that “the brush is a more powerful and rapid tool than the point or stump.” These ideas would ultimately inspire the artists of the Ashcan School, many of whom studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Place object was created: United States
oil paint, canvas
Measurements: canvas height: 20 inches canvas width: 24 inches frame height: 25.25 inches frame width: 29 inchesThe Harry and Mary Dalton Collection 2000.36.10
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN