Any opportunity to study the works of Thomas Eakins is a pleasure. This small book from Yale University focuses on only one aspect of Eakins' work - The Rowing Pictures. Though there are only twenty-four true paintings of the Rowing Series, these paintings are so extraordinarily fine that having fewer of them makes the all the more precious. The creators of the book, based on an exhibition that started at The National Gallery of Art, are a solid group: Helen A. Cooper, Prof. Martin A. Berger, Christina Currie, and Prof. Amy Werbel have included the many sketches and perspective drawings upon which Eakins depended and added commentary about the artist's life and times - always a tricky door to open depending on the audience!
There is considerable writing about the sport of rowing, the areas where the paintings were based (the Schuylkill River), the particular rowers such as the Biglin Brothers, and Eakins fascination with the mechanism of the sculls - whether meant for one or two rowers. But the real glory of this series of paintings lies in the art works themselves. There is a majestically beautiful use of light and reflection as well as some closely observed muscular involvement required by this sport. The only flaw in this book is its rather small scale; making the book bigger and thus allowing better reproductions of the paintings would have enhanced this otherwise superb survey of one of the many branches of the art of Thomas Eakins. Grady Harp, August 10
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Grady Harp (gradyharp)
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Thomas Eakins` extraordinary rowing pictures-some of the most celebrated and recognized images in the history of American art-appear together for the first time in this beautiful book. Fascinating information about the sport of rowing and its heroes, about Eakins` development as an artist, and about nineteenth-century social, cultural, and artistic concerns accompanies the twenty-four oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings of this extraordinary series.