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    Description

    THOMAS EAKINS (American 1844-1916)
    Knitting, c.1882
    Painted plaster relief
    18.5in. x 15in. oval
    Incised on verso: Eakins/ Sculptor
    Provenance: Susan Eakins (the artists wife), gifted to Mr. Charles Bregler, Asbury Park, New Jersey 1931; the estate of Mary L. Bregler; [Christie's East, New York, April 19, 1998 lot 51]
    Literature: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Carved and Modeled: American Sculpture 1810-1940, New York, April -- June, 1982, pp. 42-42, cat no., 19b; M.F. Rogers, Jr., Sketches and Bozzetti by American Sculptors, 1880-1950, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1987, p.59, fig. 41.

    In 1882, James P. Scott of Philadelphia commissioned Eakins to design two decorative reliefs: the present work, Knitting, and its companion piece, Spinning. Scott eventually rejected the designs and after some turmoil he returned the plasters to Eakins three years later. Spinning and Knitting are similar in pose to a number of Eakins' drawings and watercolors that date to 1877 to 1881, such as Seventy Years Ago, 1877 in The Art Museum, Princeton University.

    Other plaster sets are known: a pair at the Art Institute of Chicago, a pair at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. A cast of Spinning is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a cast of Knitting is at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Three sets of bronzes are also in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (cast in 1886 for Eakins); Philadelphia Museum of Art (cast in 1930 for Mrs. Eakins), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute (cast in 1930 for Samuel Murray). The Corcoran Gallery of Art also has a bronze of Knitting which was cast from the plaster in its collection.

    Thomas Eakins was one the earliest, and most influential proponents of realism in American painting and sculpture. He was born in Philadelphia and began studies in 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and supplemented his studies with anatomy classes at the Jefferson Medical School. From 1866 to 1869, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris as a student of historical painter, Jean Leon Gerôme. In Spain, he saw the work of Francisco Goya and Diego Velasquez, major influences on his emerging naturalistic style. In 1873, Eakins accepted a teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a position he held until 1886 when he was dismissed for using a nude male model in a class of both men and women students. Many of his students then defected from the Academy to a private school he established called Art Students League, where he taught without pay.

    During the 1880s and 1890s, Eakins began to experiment with photography, putting several exposures on the same plate, and he used some of his photographs as the basis for paintings. He was elected Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1902. He exhibited his works extensively at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, Paris Salon, Brooklyn Art Association, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His artwork is housed in important public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

    Condition: some minor chips on edges, otherwise good condition


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2004
    31st Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,656

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