Lecture by Mark Tucker, Vice Chair of Conservation and Senior Conservator of Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Thursday // March 29 // 12:30pm
In late 1875, Thomas Eakins, just 31 years old, completed his monumental painting, Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic). An object of both awestruck admiration and revulsion among critics of the time, the painting has long since been celebrated as an absolute masterpiece, acclaimed by Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times in 2002 as, “hands down, the finest 19th-century American painting.”
Acquired in 2007 by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the painting was examined in detail in 2008-09, and in 2010, cleaned and restored for the first time in almost fifty years. The conservation treatment restored important aspects of original appearance altered by aggressive cleanings of the 1920’s and 1940’s. Eakins’s imposing masterpiece now looks more as it did in his day than it has at any time since the early 1920s. Tucker, who led the conservation project, will speak on the historical and technical research upon which it was based, and the aims, challenges, and results of this landmark restoration.
Presented jointly with the UAB Department of Art and Art History.