THOMAS P. ANSHUTZ: A REAPPRAISAL OF EAKINS' PUPIL AS AN ARTIST AND TEACHER

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1973

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Abstract

Though seldom mentioned in surveys of American art, Thomas Anshutz, through his connection with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts--for over thirty-six years--first as student, then as teacher and director; came in contact with many painters who became leaders in art in this country. Further investigation of Anshutz and his relationship to Eakins, to the Eight and other contemporaries, seems necessary. Obviously Anshutz has been severely underestimated as an artist and teacher. The predominating influence in Anshutz's career was Thomas Eakins. The Eakins years from 1876 to 1891, include time spent with Eakins while a student as well as Anshutz's early teaching years. This time span was the most productive in terms of his painting output and produced the well known Steel Workers, Noontime. After his first trip to Europe in 1892, Anshutz evolved away from Eakins stylistically to a brighter more painterly oeuvre. However, Anshutz continued the tradition of Eakins and his significance as a teacher seems to lie in what he was able to convey to his students of Eakins' methods rather than any original contribution on his own part. As an artist his works are uneven in quality. Other than some promising landscapes of the 1890s he never again achieved the pinnacle of Steel Workers, Noontime. He remains an obscure artist known solely for his one masterpiece and for his influence on his famous pupils, who revered him.

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