Portrait of James Carroll Beckwith
Thomas Eakins, 1844–1916
Gift of Mrs. Thomas Eakins, 1937:30
After studying and painting in France and Spain, Thomas Eakins brought back to the United States what he learned in Europe and applied it to the life he knew in Philadelphia. He was an influential instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and even after his removal from the Academy, students continued to follow his innovative ideas and were enthusiastic about his encouragement to find inspiration in the people and places of the United States. Steadfast in his realism, Eakins was a controversial figure in his day but is today regarded among the most important of American artists.
This life-sized portrait is typical of Eakins’s later works in which the subject emerges dramatically from a dark background. The portrait depicts James Carroll Beckwith, an American painter known mainly for his portraits and romanticized female figures. Eakins depicts Beckwith in the act of painting one such work, a portrait of Mrs. Beckwith, who was also an artist.
View a discussion on Portrait of James Carroll Beckwith by Dr. Amy Galpin, Associate Curator, Art of the Americas.