Eakins’ “Dr. Gross” conserved 3 Replies Thomas Eakins’ portrait of Dr. Samuel Gross was recently restored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Read more in the NYT article.
I thought it was really interesting how the curators at the Philadelphia Museum of Art were able to restore the painting. The picture contained within the article that contrasts Eakins face before and after the restoration show a huge improvement. I also like how the restorers are staying true to Eakin’s style and technique by keeping the painting dark. While the article presents a good point about others wanting the painting to be lightened, it also argues the benefits of staying true to the artist’s intentions. I also like that the restorer were being careful about just how much they restored or fixed about the painting so the original wasn’t entirely lost or covered in their own interpretations and ideas rather than Eakins.
• (This article was posted by Randy Kennedy July 18, 2010 by the N.Y. Times) “Eakins was known to knock down even the brightness of a cheerful blue sky with a sober dimming wash.” Many find it strange of him to use so much color in his 1875 piece “Gross Clinic” with the oddly arranged light directing the viewer’s eye away from the central surgery of the entire work. According to Kathleen A. Foster, the image that everyone has come to know as being that of Eakins is in fact not the one painted by the famous artist. This is because of the alterations made by the painters previous holder; alterations that have been restored to its originality by Foster and Mark Tucker. Its exhibition marking that of a rebirth of the original work. “The Gross Clinic has been restored to fully show Eakins use of dark colors and to even have his portrait, which appears in the backdrop of students, to be darkly seen yet again. “In October 1917, a little over a year after Eakins’s death, the Metropolitan Museum of Art photographed the painting, probably then completely untouched by restoration, when it was in New York for a memorial exhibition. But by 1925, when Jefferson Medical College made the first color reproduction of the work, the balance of light and dark had already been destroyed, suffusing the picture with a false “fancy red light,” as Eakins’s widow, Susan, complained in a 1929 letter to the college.”
I think it was quite brilliant how the artwork was restored. In the restored version, we are able to see more detail. For example there is the expression on his face and there appears to be someone standing behind him. There aren’t that many artists that can restore a painting while keeping the same them portrayed by the original artist. The second painting “Gross Clinic” was interesting as well. It is one of the biggest paintings I’ve seen a while. The painting did a wonderful job representing the 1800’s. I think it is very important for art to describe the current time period.