Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • [Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore], ca. 1883
    Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
    Platinum print; 10 1/16 x 8 1/16 in. (25.5 x 20.4 cm)
    David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1943 (43.87.23)

    The great American painter and photographer Thomas Eakins was devoted to the scientific study of the human form and committed to its truthful representation. While teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Eakins made at least two excursions with his students in order to make a series of nudes out of doors. This photograph was probably made during the summer of 1883 at Manasquan Inlet at Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Although neither of the figures in this study play the pipes, the photograph seems related to the unfinished oil Arcadia, in the Metropolitan's collection. Posed at the edge of a lake, with hands behind their backs, or dangling, the figures seem to float, lost in thought. They are neither athletes nor swimmers contemplating a dip in the water, but two common men—professor (Eakins) and student (J. Laurie Wallace)—each an Adam. Direct and revealing, such photographs celebrate the body and increase our understanding of Eakins' refined naturalism and his respect for the essential beauty and complexity of the human form.

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  • [Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore], ca. 1883
    Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
    Platinum print; 10 1/16 x 8 1/16 in. (25.5 x 20.4 cm)
    David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1943 (43.87.23)

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