Thomas Eakins’ 1875 masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, goes on public view at 4 p.m. today at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and in early March will hang at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. It is on loan to the Museum from Thomas Jefferson University until it is sold later this month by the University to the Museum and the Academy, which have joined in an extraordinary ongoing fundraising effort.
Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “We are delighted and grateful to Thomas Jefferson University for lending The Gross Clinic to the Museum in advance of concluding the acquisition. It looks absolutely spectacular in our galleries, just as it will at the Academy, and millions of people will see it in the years to come. The painting’s dramatic portrayal of a great surgeon at the height of his career as both physician and professor conveys the artist’s convictions about Philadelphia’s world-class status as a city famous for the arts, medicine, and education. We know that its presence will gratify the legions of generous donors who helped to keep it in Philadelphia, and will inspire new gifts to the cause.”
Robert L. Barchi, M.D., Ph.D., President of Thomas Jefferson University, stated: “It has been an honor for us to own this great painting, and it is now an honor to share it with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in advance of the conclusion of the sale to the Museum and the Academy. We are very pleased this masterpiece will remain in Philadelphia. We hope this loan will help the Museum and the Academy keep up the momentum of their fundraising campaign. The generosity and foresight of Jefferson Medical College alumni will be acknowledged when the painting is displayed, along with the special relationship of Jefferson to the painting. Giving this masterpiece wider exposure will highlight the important role of Jefferson Medical College and its alumni in the furtherance of medical science and healing.”
Donald R. Caldwell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, said: “This loan from Jefferson predicts a great outcome and underscores all that good will and collaboration can accomplish. We are excited to see the painting at the Museum and look forward to its arrival at the Academy with high anticipation.”
Ownership of The Gross Clinic will transfer from Thomas Jefferson University to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy at the end of January. Fundraising efforts, launched though a community-wide appeal and major contributions from the Annenberg Foundation, the Joseph Neubauer Family, Gerry Lenfest, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, continue for the jointly owned masterpiece. Exhibition of The Gross Clinic will rotate between the two locations on an equal basis every several years.
The Gross Clinic has been acclaimed as one of the great American masterpieces of all time. It was last lent by Thomas Jefferson University in 2001-2002 to the major traveling retrospective, Thomas Eakins, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Jefferson has owned the painting since 1878, when it was presented to the medical college by its alumni.
At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the painting will be placed first in the Colket Gallery (151), adjacent to the Great Stair Hall. It will be in the context of works by Eakins from the same decade as The Gross Clinic. These paintings open up a vista onto the Philadelphia of the artist’s day, populated by rowers on the Schuylkill River and family outings in Fairmount Park. Included will be an oil study Eakins made as part of his preparation for The Gross Clinic, and a compelling portrait of Thomas Eakins by his wife, Susan Hannah Macdowell.
The drive to keep the painting in Philadelphia has resulted to date in 2,800 donations from over 38 states and the District of Columbia.
The public can help by giving to the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, established to raise the money to match the sale price of $68 million. Make a tax deductible contribution online at www.philamuseum.org/keepeakins, or mail a check made payable to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece and send it to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, c/o Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646, or c/o Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1598. The Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece HOTLINE is reachable by calling 215-684-7762.
Philadelphia Museum of Art Norman Keyes, Jr./215-684-7862 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Dominic Mercier /215-972-2031 DMercier@pafa.org
Thomas Jefferson University Jackie Kozloski /215-955-5296 Jackie.email@example.com