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    Sale 2171

    Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture

    20 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 128

    Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)

    Robert C. Ogden

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
    Robert C. Ogden
    signed and dated 'Eakins/1904' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    72 x 48 in. (182.9 x 121.9 cm.)


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    Among the greatest portrait painters of the late nineteenth century, Thomas Eakins found artistic inspiration in the subject of the individual, and throughout his life was drawn to subjects of unusual character and achievement. Eakins' focus sharpened considerably after 1885 when he resigned from his teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and began to devote himself almost exclusively to portrait painting. His sitters were friends who peopled his personal world, professionals he knew and admired in the intellectual, religious and artistic circles of Philadelphia.

    Eakins painted his portrait of Robert C. Ogden in 1904, a year in which he produced several other superb portraits including those of William R. Hallowell, Mrs. Edith Mahon and Samuel Myers. Ogden was a merchant, philanthropist, and educational worker who was also involved with the Union Theological Seminary. Reflecting on his life, friends noted they found in him "sagacity and moral strength." ("Honor the Memory of Robert C. Ogden," The New York Times, 27 Oct. 1913) Eakins chose to portray Ogden in a full-length portrait, seated and pensive to convey the sitter's accomplishment. In the present work as with almost every picture Eakins painted, light is the essential agent in defining form. With it, he selectively highlights key elements of his sitter's anatomy such as his hand and face. The richly detailed carpet and tapestry allude to Ogden's wealth and thus his success as a merchant.

    Breaking from the Victorian and Impressionist modes of portraiture fashionable in American art of the period, in this portrait Eakins places himself within an art historical lineage of the Dutch and Spanish Old Masters, while incorporating his personal vision of academic realism and a uniquely American spirit, making him one of the most ground-breaking portraitists of his time.

    Provenance

    Robert C. Ogden, New York, 1906.
    Mrs. Alexander Purves, Hampton, Virginia.
    Estate of the above.
    E. & A. Milch, New York, by 1959.
    Joseph H. Hirshhorn, New York, acquired from the above, 1959.
    Gift to the present owner from the above, 1966.


    Pre-Lot Text

    SOLD BY THE ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN TO BENEFIT ITS ACQUISITIONS PROGRAM


    Literature

    A. Burroughs, "Catalogue of Work by Thomas Eakins (1869-1916)," The Arts, vol. 5, June 1924, p. 332.
    H.G. Marceau, "Catalogue of the Work of Thomas Eakins (1869-1916)," Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin, March 25, 1930, n.p., no. 263.
    L. Goodrich, Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work, New York, 1933, pp. 119-20, no. 394.
    American Federation of the Arts, Paintings from the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation Collection: A View of the Protean Century, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1962, p. 9, no. 23, illustrated.
    E. Genauer, "Impressive--75 Paintings Assembled by Hirshhorn," New York Herald Tribune, October 31, 1962, p. 15.
    "Hirshhorn Collection Opens at Art Center," Free Press, Colorado Springs, Colorado, December 6, 1963, p. 3.
    E.J. Driscoll, Jr., "Contemporary Exhibit at Boston Museum," Boston Globe, December 13, 1964, p. 38.
    S. Schendler, Eakins, Boston, Massachusetts,1967, pp. 183, 188, pl. 89, illustrated.
    A. Lerner, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, New York, 1974, p. 104, fig. 128, illustrated.
    G. Hendricks, The Life and Work of Thomas Eakins, New York, 1974, p. 255, fig. 278, illustrated.
    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Inaugural Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1974, p. 104, no. 128, illustrated.
    P.D. Rosenzweig, The Thomas Eakins Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1977, pp. 20, 195-96, no. 107, illustrated.
    L. Goodrich, Thomas Eakins, vol. II, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982, pp. 225-27, no. 255, illustrated.
    H. Adams, Eakins Revealed: The Secret Life of an American Artist, New York, 2005, p. 405, illustrated.


    Exhibited

    New York, M. Knoedler & Co., and elsewhere, A Loan Exhibition of the Works of Thomas Eakins, 1844-1944, June 5-July 31, 1944, no. 69.
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Institute, Thomas Eakins Centennial Exhibition 1844-1944, April 26-June 1, 1945, no. 71.
    New York, Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, Thomas Eakins 1844-1916: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, January 16-February 16, 1958, no. 30.
    New York, M. Knoedler & Co., American Federation of the Arts, Paintings from the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation Collection: A View of the Protean Century, October 31-November 24, 1962.
    Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Inaugural Exhibition, October 1, 1974-September 15, 1975, no. 128.
    Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Thomas Eakins Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, May 24-September 5, 1977, no. 107.