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January 19th, 2005
Museum Publishes Long-lost Eakins Drawing Manual

In March 2005 the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in conjunction with Yale University Press, will publish A Drawing Manual by Thomas Eakins [ISBN 0-87633-176-2], the long-lost artistic treasure penned by the great Philadelphia Realist during his years as professor and director of schools at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The publication of this manual on the occasion of the Academy’s 200th anniversary celebrates the ties between the Museum and the Academy, two great Philadelphia art institutions and rich repositories of Eakins’ work.

During his years at the Academy, Eakins (1844-1916) compiled his lectures and illustrations with the intent of publishing a drawing instruction manual. The project was shelved, however, due to the stress of his forced resignation in February 1886 over the use of the nude model in Academy classes. Over the years, the parts of the manual were saved, separated, and hidden. The elements were finally rediscovered with the Museum’s 1963 receipt of the manuscript for the manual and the Academy’s 1985 acquisition of a long-secreted trove of Eakins’ work, including the drawings made to illustrate the lessons in the book. Now, with the Museum’s publication of this manual, all of the integral elements have been reassembled and presented in a period style that suggests the drawing book that Eakins imagined.

The slender volume, which features Eakins’ original text and illustrations as well as essays by Kathleen A. Foster, The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of American Art at the Museum, and Amy B. Werbel, associate professor at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, coincides with an exhibition titled Point of Sight: Thomas Eakins’ Drawing Manual Reconstructed at the Academy February 26 to April 3, 2005.

In 2001, in celebration of its 125th anniversary, the Museum organized Thomas Eakins: American Realist, the first retrospective exhibition to fully integrate and assess the achievements of Philadelphia’s greatest artist. The exhibition, which traveled to Paris and New York in 2002, assembled more than 200 works, including oils, watercolors, sculptures, and photographs by Eakins and his circle from public and private collections.

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