Thomas Eakins - Cooper, Helen A.; Berger, Martin A.; Currie, Christina; Werbel, Amy - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture

Distributed for the Yale University Art Gallery  

Thomas Eakins

The Rowing Pictures

  • Helen A. Cooper; With contributions by Martin A. Berger, Christina Currie, and Amy B. Werbel
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Out of Print.

During the 1870s rowing became a tremendously popular sport in the United States. An enthusiastic rower, the young Thomas Eakins painted, sketched, and drew an extraordinary series of rowing pictures that were the most ambitious project of his early career. Eakins' 24 rowing works, which include some of the most celebrated and recognized images in the history of American art, are brought together and examined as a group for the first time in this beautiful book. Together they shed light on the artist's creative process and subsequent achievements as well as on social, cultural, and artistic concerns central to nineteenth-century audiences.

Helen A. Cooper along with essayists Martin A. Berger, Christina Currie, and Amy B. Werbel, discusses various aspects of Eakins' rowing series, explaining his affection for the sport, his adoption of the images of popular culture into the realm of fine art, his commitment to novel, "modern" subjects, his preoccupation with perspective and measurement, and his belief that the most profound artistic truths were best expressed through the human figure—particularly the male figure. A comparison of the rowing pictures reveals that over the four years in which they were created, Eakins moved subtly from the analytic and descriptive toward the more feeling and suggestive. As a group devoted to a single subject, the series is unmatched in the oeuvre of this masterful painter.

Helen A. Cooper is the Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale University Art Gallery.