Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Gallimaufry


1. Chez Namastenancy reports of a new and important Thomas Eakins show in Los Angeles.

2. If you've ever been curious what the insides of the ironclad USS Monitor looked like, a tour of the vessel has been arranged for you right here.

3. Take a ride on the Berlin U-Bahn with Flickr photographer Berolino. My favorite is the U-1 line.



  1. Thanks for the link. I have to say that I hesitated a long time on how to approach some of the controversies around Eakins. The sexuality issue in Eakins’s work and life is controversial. It steams from a 2003 biography by Henry Adams, “Eakins Revealed. The secret life of an American artist.” Professor Adams probably got tenure over this book because it’s publish or perish for academics these days. BUT – and it’s another big BUT- while I think you can make a case for the homoerotic overtones in Eakins, I am not sure that you can do much more. I remember a painting in the recent exhibit at the De Young of pieces from the Musee D’Orsay – Wrestlers by Falguiere (1875). I know nothing about this painter but his work and that of Calliabotte (who probably was homosexual) is no more erotic than Eakins’s work. Sargent is another 19th century painter with a very private private life; he did some gorgeous sketches of male nudes and some biographers have decided to call him a homosexual on no more evidence than that. Eakins was married (twice I think) and apparently had a rather difficult personality. He made friends with a much younger man who helped to take care of him until he died. Was Eakins trying to hide his homosexuality from himself as well as the world? I don’t think we will ever know but maybe our culture’s obsessive interest in artists’ private lives says more about us than it does about them.

  2. I have no idea what Eakins liked to do for fun, and would prefer also to let the dead rest in peace, but what's clear is that he certainly managed to get away with works that were unbelievably sensual in late 19th c. America terms.
    When I see his Schuykill River paintings, I hear Charles Ives' "Three Places in New England" playing in the background, for some reason.