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Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

American, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 25 July 1844, in Philadelphia; died 25 June 1916, in Philadelphia.

Painter, sculptor. Nudes, portraits, genre scenes, sporting subjects.

Realism.

Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins’ father was a writing master in Philadelphia. Between 1861 and 1866, he enrolled in a drawing course at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and at the same time followed a course in anatomy at the medical faculty. At Jefferson Medical College, he attended and participated in dissections and produced studies of nudes. In 1866, he went to Paris, enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, and spent over three years working in Jean-Léon Gérôme’s studio. His meticulous attention to detail and taste for drawing gave him an advantage at the school, an institution that was still dominated by the art of Ingres. He also attended the atelier of Léon Bonnat, who stressed anatomical exactitude. After a trip to Spain, where he was impressed by Ribera and Velázquez, he returned to Philadelphia in 1870. In 1877, he was appointed professor of drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. In 1886, a dispute about his decision to use a male nude model in a mixed class led to his forced resignation. In the summer of 1887, he made a 10-week trip to the Dakota Badlands. He became an isolated painter, painting subjects acceptable to the larger public but where the introduction of nudes was unavoidable. An example is ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

Style of painting, and sometimes sculpture, that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s that involves creating works in extreme detail as a reaction to the abstraction celebrated in the 1940s and 1950s. Photorealist art refers to images of reality rendered in extreme detail, often with aid of photographs. The subjects of this style include portraits, still-lifes, and genre scenes. The genre images usually depict daytime scenes, occasionally night-time scenes, but often at midday so the shadows are at their most dramatic.

Photorealist artists were influenced by Pop art, in which the artists were concerned with media saturation (using media as a source for art) and the reproduction or simulation of mass-produced objects as art. They were also informed by Minimalism, in which the artists emphasized a cool detachment and industrial emphasis. Conceptual art and the artistic interest in the 1960s of making ideas into realities also underscore Photorealism....

Article

Native American (Diné/Navajo), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1966, in Ganado (Arizona).

Printmaker, sculptor, painter.

Political and social realism, abstraction, post-colonial themes.

Melanie Yazzie uses a variety of media including photography, sculpture, print, and paint to create personal, autobiographical and socio-political works. Using her Diné heritage as a source of inspiration, her practice draws attention to many key issues facing indigenous peoples. Themes have included issues of racism, misogyny, identity problems, poverty and abuse. Later works have concentrated more on personal issues and storytelling and touch on traditional, contemporary and imagined themes, including depictions of ceremonial life and ritual. Yazzie often collaborates with artists from other indigenous nations in order to raise further awareness and create shared experience through art practice....