Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins

Photograph of Thomas Eakins

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Thomas Eakins, photographed between 1894 and 1899, volunteered as an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1876 after his time as a student. The native Philadelphian began earning a salary in 1878 and became the director in 1882. His work capturing the movement of the human form and use of nudity gained Eakins a reputation for controversy, as an artist and a teacher. Students such as Beaux avoided Eakins classes, while others flourished under his tutelage. In 1886 Eakins was forced to resign from the Academy after removing the loincloth to expose a male model in a class that included female students. Finding teaching opportunities at other institutions but met similar ends because of his risqué methods, Eakins left teaching in 1898.

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