Artist: Thomas Eakins
Confronting Bodies: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts administrators, members of the Philadelphia Sketch Club
Date of Action: January 1886
Specific Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Description of Artwork: Eakins most notable painting, "The Gross Clinic," shows a scene in an operating room. The painting gives gruesome detail, like blood on the surgeon's hands. It was called "too bold" for its "attention to facts."
Description of Incident: "The Gross Clinic" was refused entry into the American section of the Centennial Exhibition in 1875 but was allowed in the medical section where it recieved unfavorable responses from critics. Eakins earned a reputation for boldness. In 1886, while teaching at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, he was reprimanded for allowing a nude male model into a co-ed painting class. Eakins believed that male and female students should recieve identical educations. The school gave him two choices: change his teaching style, or resign.
Results of Incident: Eakins resigned from the Philadelphia Academy. He was also banned from the Philadelphia Sketch Club and fired from a position at the Drexel Institute for using a male model in a co-ed classroom.
Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones
Submitted By: NCAC