The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts announced today that WHYY President & CEO William J. Marrazzo will convene and lead a committee of national cultural, civic, and community leaders to broaden the public’s understanding of the social and artistic importance of Thomas Eakins’ 1875 masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, and to ensure it stays in Philadelphia.
Marrazzo will convene the group, members of which will be announced in the next few days. The members will be national and regional leaders who share the view that The Gross Clinic should remain in Philadelphia, the city in which it was painted.
Committee members will use their individual and collective networks to increase understanding about the importance of The Gross Clinic to the region, and what it means to Philadelphia’s social, artistic, and intellectual history. The Committee was formed with the goal of fostering a broad dialogue about the importance of The Gross Clinic to the region, following the announcement by the painting’s owner, Thomas Jefferson University, that the painting will be purchased for $68 million by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, founded by Alice L. Walton and scheduled to open in 2009, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Marrazzo was enlisted because of his work at WHYY to raise awareness of the region’s vibrant arts and culture community for wider audiences.
“I am honored to have been called upon to facilitate the process of generating a dialogue,” Marrazzo said. “I feel passionate about the importance of this artwork, and the richness of its history and importance to the city. For me, it is a surrogate of what a mature American city stands for. Projects like this committee represent what it takes for a community to become the next great American city by encouraging civic engagement about a city’s history, and what it means for the present and the future.”
“I believe, under Bill Marrazzo’s leadership and with all parties working together in the spirit of cooperation, our city, our region, and the country will understand why it is important to preserve and keep this great work in Philadelphia for the enjoyment and education of generations to come,” said Donald R. Caldwell, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “The Gross Clinic brings together the best in art, in science, in medicine. Eakins was able, in his time, to bring all this to bear in one defining work. It exemplifies why he is America’s greatest 19th-century artist, and why his art belongs in the city in which it was created.”
WHYY, the leading public broadcasting station in the greater Philadelphia region, is what a diverse community has in common. WHYY, through television, radio, the Web and other communications services, WHYY makes our region a better place, connecting each of us to the world’s richest ideas and all of us to each other. For details of WHYY’s comprehensive Eakins coverage, including original documentaries on television, radio programming, the Arts & Culture blog The Sixth Square, and a community dialogue on November 28, visit www.whyy.org.
About the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's oldest continually operating school of fine arts and museum. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts presented by the President of the United States of America, the Academy is a recognized leader in fine arts education. The institution's world-class collection of American art continues to grow and includes major works by the Academy's faculty and alumni, both current and historic.
About the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States, showcasing more than 2,000 years of exceptional human creativity in masterpieces of painting, sculpture, works on paper, decorative arts and architectural settings from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The striking neoclassical building stands on a nine-acre site above the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and houses more than 200 galleries. The Museum offers a wide variety of enriching activities, including programs for children and families, lectures, concerts, and films.
About the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece
Last Friday, due to an unprecedented outpouring of support from concerned citizens across the region, the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece was established enabling the public to make donations. Tax-deductible contributions can be made online at www.philamuseum.org/keepeakins, or a check made payable to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece can be mailed to:
Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece
c/o Philadelphia Museum of Art
P.O. Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646
The public can also reach the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece HOTLINE by phone at 215-684-7762.