|Product Details |
Abbeville Press, Inc.
From Publishers Weekly
Long celebrated, like his crony and idol Walt Whitman, as an advocate of ``the common man,'' American realist painter Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) emerges here as a self-righteous, domineering egotist troubled by sexual obsessions and dark secrets. According to art historian Homer, author of books on Albert Pinkham Ryder and Alfred Stieglitz, Eakins harbored unconscious hostility toward women and ``wanted to defeminize them.'' He married one of his most promising art students, Susan Macdowell, then gave her no encouragement to paint. By relatives' accounts, he may have sexually abused his 23-year-old niece, Ella Crowell, triggering her suicide. In a startling, fresh, gloriously illustrated biographical-critical portrait, Homer knocks the halo off Eakins while capturing the humanity and complexity of his art. Drawing on hitherto unavailable source materials, he fathoms a painter who, like Whitman, evinced disregard for the conventions of his time.
Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Skilled technician in oils, sculptor, photographer, teacher, illustrator, and close observer of anatomy and movement, Eakins (1844-1916) has long stood as an anti-establishment hero in the history of American art. Noted art historian Homer reevaluates this Philadelphian's controversial career in an extraordinarily handsome critical biography. Of the 240 illustrations, 100 are color plates of Eakins's unidealized yet evocative portraits, sporting scenes, and history paintings. Many of the... read more --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This profusely illustrated critical biography of one of the nineteenth century's greatest artists captures the unique spirit of the art and of the man. The first edition of Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art, published in l992, was selected by Choice as one of the best art books of the year. This second edition of what has become the standard book on the artist adds an appendix discussing recent discoveries about Eakins's use of photography and a bibliographical addendum.
"In his devotion to American subjects," Homer writes, "Eakins seems to have responded to Walt Whitman's challenge to portray life in the United States rather than worn-out European myths and allegories." The variety of Eakins's work is remarkable--lively sporting scenes, psychologically incisive portraits, dramatic historical tableaux, as well as numerous sculptures and innovative photographs. The full range of this art is explored here in revealing detail. His working methods are illuminated by telling comparisons between his paintings and the photographs and drawings that were part of his creative process. Quotations from his notebooks, letters, and other writings provide additional insights into his artistic personality, and a chapter on his career as a teacher reveals the strengths and weaknesses of that strife-filled realm of his life.
Eakins's willful independence as both artist and teacher often entangled him in controversy. His many battles with a hidebound Establishment had led previous writers to romanticize Eakins as a martyr of American art. Professor Homer's revisionist study of Eakins's career--based on long years of research and previously unexamined visual and documentary sources--helped to demythologize this complex artist without diminishing his brilliance or the importance of his art.
Other details: 240 illustrations, 100 in full color