Thomas Anshutz (American, 1851–1912)
Oil on canvas
58 x 43 7/8 in. (147.3 x 111.4 cm)
Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 1993 (1993.324)
The work of Thomas Anshutz, one of America's leading art instructors, bridges the realism of his teacher Thomas Eakins and that of the Ashcan School artists, some of whom were his students. Anshutz's commitment to teaching appears to have limited his output; only about 130 oils by him are known. Some of the most impressive of these works belong to a late series of images of Rebecca H. Whelan, the daughter of a trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Anshutz taught.
Anshutz's depiction of Whelan in A Rose manifests his appreciation of Eakins's academic rigor and psychological probing and of John Singer Sargent's painterly freedom. It also suggests the influence of portraits by Diego Velázquez and James McNeill Whistler. In portraying the young woman as contemplative yet intellectually and emotionally alert, Anshutz anticipates the earthier women painted by the Ashcan School and other twentieth-century realists.