13 Days: Out of Sight
Thomas Eakins meant The Gross Clinic to represent the best of America on its 100th birthday. “In the spring of 1875, a circular was sent out to the artists of Philadelphia,” writes Kathy Foster from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “urging them to prepare for the upcoming great Centennial Fair.” The city’s artists wanted to “show their own skill and bring honor to the city.”
But the art that hung in Memorial Hall, one of the very few permanent buildings at Philadelphia’s first World’s Fair, did not include the masterpiece Eakins created to make the case for “Philadelphia’s accomplishment as part of a larger story of American progress.” The selection committee considered it too shocking and offensive for the general public and The Gross Clinic was tucked away among the Army medical exhibits. We illustrate the “out of sight” Eakins here.
You can read Kathy Foster’s “Ten Reasons to Keep Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic in Philadelphia” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Eakins webpage.