Return to Previous Page

The Concert Singer

Thomas Eakins, American, 1844 - 1916

Geography:
Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America

Date:
1890-1892

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
6 feet 3 1/8 inches × 54 1/4 inches (190.8 × 137.8 cm) Framed: 7 feet 2 5/16 inches × 65 3/16 inches (219.2 × 165.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

* Gallery 111, American Art, first floor

Accession Number:
1929-184-19

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Thomas Eakins and Miss Mary Adeline Williams, 1929

Social Tags [?]

children's audio [x]   dress [x]   mendelssohn [x]   music [x]   nhd 1877 to 1900 entertainment [x]   pink [x]   portrait [x]   singing [x]   song [x]  


[Add Your Own Tags]

Explore the Collections




Label:
Thomas Eakins's abrupt dismissal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, in 1886--resulting from his use of nude models in classes with female students--caused a marked change in his work. When he started to paint again, after a two-year period of depression, he concentrated on the penetrating portrait studies that would comprise the majority of his work until his death. His laborious procedure for exactly representing the act of singing was described by Weda Cook, the performer seen in this painting. She recalled that Eakins would have her repeatedly sing the same phrase--from a Felix Mendelssohn composition--as he watched the action of her mouth and throat. The artist carved the opening bars of that song into the frame of the picture.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Thomas Eakins's abrupt dismissal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1886 for his use of nude models in life classes for both men and women caused a marked change in his work. When he started to paint again, after a two-year period of depression, he began to concentrate on the penetrating studies of individuals that would comprise the majority of his works until his death. Eakins's paintings of musicians, for example, a favorite subject throughout his career, were no longer complete narratives but rather portraits of talented performers such as The Concert Singer. His laborious procedure for exactly representing the act of singing was described by his friend and model Weda Cook, who recalled that Eakins would have her sing the same phrase repeatedly as he watched the action of her mouth and throat. So that a music-loving viewer could judge the accuracy of his portrayal, Eakins carved the appropriate bars of music from Felix Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah into the frame that he made for the painting. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 292.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

Return to Previous Page