The second largest contribution made to date toward keeping Thomas Eakins’ masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, in Philadelphia, has brought to $37 million the total amount raised in the unprecedented drive to secure the painting for the city.
Athena and Nicholas Karabots of Fort Washington, PA, have contributed a total of $7 million, making theirs the largest gift after that of the Annenberg Foundation. The couple initially committed $1 million to the cause and were inspired to increase it as momentum built. Their generous gift joins the Annenberg Foundation’s contribution of $10 million, and major gifts of $3 million each by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Joseph Neubauer family, and H. F. (Gerry) Lenfest, as well as several large anonymous gifts and, through a nationwide grassroots response, some 3000 donations from individuals in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
In November, Thomas Jefferson University announced that it was giving Philadelphia institutions 45 days to match the $68 million sale price for the painting. The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts initiated fundraising and will jointly purchase the painting, which is currently on loan from Jefferson to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and will remain on view through March 4. The painting will go on view at the Academy in early March.
“My wife and I are delighted to offer our support to this historic effort, and profoundly honored to join the Annenberg Foundation and other major donors,” said Nicholas Karabots. “In helping the Philadelphia Museum of Art to purchase The Gross Clinic with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, we contribute to keep this civic treasure in the city with the additional belief that it will, at these more public art institutions with strong educational programs, also assist our collective goals of encouraging our city’s youth. In addition the funds that Jefferson University receives will also support the growth of Jefferson and the education of future physicians and therefore we give with the knowledge that our gift will serve this purpose as well. We sincerely hope that our giving will inspire other contributions both large and small.”
Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated, “The outpouring of generosity is spectacular, and we are thrilled by the great leadership demonstrated by the Karabots family through their remarkable gift. The challenge to keep Eakins’ masterpiece in Philadelphia met with an extraordinary response from the community at large and an outburst of civic pride. While the fundraising continues it is deeply gratifying to see so many visitors streaming in to see the painting and know that it will remain a national treasure in our city in perpetuity.”
Marla Shoemaker, the Museum’s Senior Curator of Education, added: “We are thrilled that this truly great painting, created by a young artist who was a product of the Philadelphia public school system, and graduated from Central High School, will have a permanent public home in the city he loved so much. Students of all ages will be studying from—and finding inspiration in—this masterpiece at both this Museum and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for years to come. Already, city teenagers in our Teen Sketch Club have been sketching and learning from this great masterwork of American painting.”