A Drawing Manual by Thomas Eakins
Edited by Kathleen A. Foster
While a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the celebrated American artist Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) prepared a drawing manual for his students. The manuscript developed out of his famous lectures at the Academy on linear perspective, mechanical drawing, reflections, and sculptural relief and included illustrations by the artist. Following his forced resignation from the Academy in 1886, Eakins abandoned plans to publish the manual, and the parts were dispersed. Today, drafts of the manuscript reside at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Academy, which also holds many of the illustrations.
A Drawing Manual brings together Eakins’s text, based on a concordance of the drafts, and his original drawings for the project. This remarkable publication reveals Eakins’s personality and teaching philosophy, demonstrating why the artist was renowned as a plainspoken, effective teacher. In her fascinating introduction, Kathleen A. Foster sketches the background of the manuscript in the artist’s life and the story of the publication project. Amy B. Werbel provides an illuminating essay on Eakins’s place in the tradition of perspective drawing. This book is essential for any student, scholar, curator, or individual interested in American art and art education.
Kathleen A. Foster is the Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Curator of American Art and Director of the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has published extensively on Eakins, including Thomas Eakins Rediscovered (Yale University Press). Amy B. Werbel is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Saint Michael’s College, Vermont.