Thomas Pollock Anshutz

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Thomas Anshutz
Anshutz, ca. 1900
Thomas Pollock Anshutz

(1851-10-05)October 5, 1851
DiedJune 16, 1912(1912-06-16) (aged 60)
Nationality American
Education National Academy of Design
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Académie Julian
Known for Painter
Arts administrator
Notable work
The Ironworkers' Noontime
AwardsSilver, 1904 World's Fair
Gold, 1909, Pennsylvania Academy
Gold, 1910, Buenos Aires International Exposition

Thomas Pollock Anshutz (October 5, 1851 – June 16, 1912) was an American painter and teacher. Co-founder of The Darby School and leader at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Anshutz was known for his award-winning portraiture work and working friendship with Thomas Eakins.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Thomas Eakins Late 19th-early 20th century American artist

Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history.


Personal life and education

Thomas Anshutz was born in Newport, Kentucky in 1851. He grew up in Newport and Wheeling, West Virginia. His early art instruction took place at the National Academy of Design in the early 1870s, where he studied under Lemuel Wilmarth. In 1875, he moved to Philadelphia and took a class taught by Thomas Eakins at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, a class which would solidify a close relationship and influence between Eakins and Anshutz. In 1892 Anshutz married Effie Shriver Russell. The two spent their honeymoon in Paris, where Anshutz attended classes at Académie Julian. In 1893 they returned to Philadelphia. [1] Later in his life he proclaimed himself a socialist. [2] He retired from teaching in the fall of 1911 due to poor health and died on June 16, 1912. [1]

Newport, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Newport is a home rule-class city at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 15,273 at the 2010 census. Historically, it was one of four county seats of Campbell County. Newport is a major urban center of Northern Kentucky and part of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, which includes over 2 million inhabitants.

Wheeling, West Virginia City in West Virginia, United States

Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.

National Academy of Design professional honorary organization with a school and museum

The National Academy of Design is an honorary association of American artists, founded in New York City in 1825 by Samuel Morse, Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E. Thompson, Charles Cushing Wright, Ithiel Town, and others "to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition."

Pupils of Anshutz include Margaret Taylor Fox. [3]

Artistic career

A Rose, 1907; Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thomas P. Anshutz - A Rose.jpg
A Rose, 1907; Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Eakins began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1876, the same year that Anshutz enrolled as a student. Eakins was Chief Demonstrator of Anatomy and Christian Schussele was Professor of Drawing and Painting. In 1878 Anshutz became Eakins's assistant, eventually succeeding Eakins as Chief Demonstrator when Eakins was promoted to Professor of Drawing and Painting. In 1880, while still a student, Anshutz completed his first major work, The Ironworkers' Noontime . [1]

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts United States historic place

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is a museum and art school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1805 and is the first and oldest art museum and art school in the United States. The academy's museum is internationally known for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Its archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training.

Anatomy The study of the structure of organisms and their parts

Anatomy is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It is an old science, having its beginnings in prehistoric times. Anatomy is inherently tied to developmental biology, embryology, comparative anatomy, evolutionary biology, and phylogeny, as these are the processes by which anatomy is generated over immediate (embryology) and long (evolution) timescales. Anatomy and physiology, which study (respectively) the structure and function of organisms and their parts, make a natural pair of related disciplines, and they are often studied together. Human anatomy is one of the essential basic sciences that are applied in medicine.

Christian Schussele American painter

Christian Schussele was an American artist and teacher, and is credited with designing the American Medal of Honor. He studied under Adolphe Yvon and Paul Delaroche 1842–1848 and then came to the United States. Here, for some time, he worked at chromolithography which he had also pursued in France. Later he devoted himself almost entirely to painting.

The Ironworkers' Noontime, Anshutz's most well known painting, depicts twenty-or-so workers on their break in the yard of a foundry. Painted near Wheeling, West Virginia, it is conceived in a naturalistic style similar to that of Eakins, although Eakins never painted industrial subjects. [5] The piece was exhibited at the Philadelphia Sketch Club in 1881 and compared to Eakins's work by art critics. [1] Art historian Randall C. Griffin has written of it: "One of the first American paintings to depict the bleakness of factory life, The Ironworkers' Noontime appears to be a clear indictment of industrialization. Its brutal candor startled critics, who saw it as unexpectedly confrontational—a chilling industrial snapshot not the least picturesque or sublime." [6] It is now in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. [7]

Foundry factory that produces metal castings

A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal into a mold, and removing the mold material after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminium and cast iron. However, other metals, such as bronze, brass, steel, magnesium, and zinc, are also used to produce castings in foundries. In this process, parts of desired shapes and sizes can be formed.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco public arts institution in the city of San Francisco; comprises the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in the city of San Francisco. The permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums, with about 150,000 objects, is organized into nine areas, each with a curatorial staff.

Around 1880 Eakins became involved in photography, incorporating it into his classes and using it as a tool for his artwork. Anshutz and other students at the Academy started to make use of the camera, posing models and making prints for study. Anshutz participated in Eakins's The Naked Series, photographing nude models in seven pre-defined standing poses. He modeled for Eakins himself, along with colleagues such as J. Laurie Wallace and Covington Few Seiss, who would pose outdoors nude, often wrestling, swimming and boxing. Eadweard Muybridge eventually made his way to Philadelphia and Anshutz and Eakins helped build Muybridge's zoopraxiscope.

Camera Optical device for recording images

A camera is an optical instrument to capture still images or to record moving images, which are stored in a physical medium such as in a digital system or on photographic film. A camera consists of a lens which focuses light from the scene, and a camera body which holds the image capture mechanism.

Photographic printing is the process of producing a final image on paper for viewing, using chemically sensitized paper. The paper is exposed to a photographic negative, a positive transparency , or a digital image file projected using an enlarger or digital exposure unit such as a LightJet printer. Alternatively, the negative or transparency may be placed atop the paper and directly exposed, creating a contact print. Photographs are more commonly printed on plain paper, for example by a color printer, but this is not considered "photographic printing".

Model (art) person who poses for any visual artist as part of the creative process

An art model poses for any visual artist as part of the creative process, providing a visual reference for the human figure in a work of art. However, more than being simply the subject of art, models are often thought of as muses, a source of inspiration without whom the art would not exist. The most common types of art works that use models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography, but almost any medium may be used.

The Loincloth Incident

Eakins was forced to resign from the Academy in an 1886 scandal that was sparked by his use of a fully nude male model in front of either an all-female or a mixed-male-and-female class. Anshutz did not defend his mentor, in fact, he turned against him. Anshutz co-signed a letter to the Philadelphia Sketch Club: "We hereby charge Mr. Thoms Eakins with conduct unworthy of a gentleman & discreditable to this organization & ask his expulsion from the club." [8]

Philadelphia Sketch Club organization

The Philadelphia Sketch Club, founded on November 20, 1860, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is America's oldest artists' clubs. The club's own web page proclaims it the oldest. Prominent members have included Joseph Pennell, Thomas Eakins, Howard Chandler Christy, and N.C. Wyeth.

Anshutz's career continues to rise

Anshutz was promoted to Eakins's position at the Academy. Anshutz would briefly travel to Europe, focusing primarily on his teaching in Philadelphia. Numerous artists studied under Anshutz, including Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones, George Luks, Charles Demuth, John Sloan, Charles Sheeler, Everett Shinn, John Marin, William Glackens, and Robert Henri. [1] As a teacher, Anshutz, according to art historian Sanford Schwartz, "was known as much for his approachability as his sarcasm, which apparently wasn't of the withering variety." [9]

The Anshutz family regularly vacationed in Holly Beach, New Jersey which served as a creative place for the painter. There he experimented with watercolors, bright color palette, and simple compositions. He also photographed the natural environment, utilizing the images as studies for paintings, specifically Holly Beach and trips down the Delaware and Maurice rivers. Although Anshutz experimented persistently with landscape painting, he was more well known for his portraiture, which won him numerous awards in the 1890s and 1900s. In 1898 he and Hugh Breckenridge co-founded the Darby School, a summer school outside of Philadelphia which emphasized plein air painting. At Darby Anshutz created his most abstract works, a series of bright oil landscape paintings that were never exhibited. He continued to participate in the Darby School until 1910. He was elected as an Associate member of the National Academy of Design in 1910. He served as president of the Philadelphia Sketch Club. [1]


In 1971 Robert and Joy McCarty, who lived in the home formerly owned by the Anshutz family in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, donated a portion of letters, glass negatives, and photographs to the Archives of American Art. A second donation from the Anshutz family took place in 1971 and 1972, which were microfilmed and returned to the family. [1]

Notable collections

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Finding Aid". Thomas Anshutz papers, circa 1870–1942. Archives of American Art. 2005. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  2. Griffin, 2004, p. 150
  3. Virgil E. McMahan (1995). The Artists of Washington, D.C., 1796–1996. Artists of Washington. ISBN   978-0-9649101-0-2.
  4. "Work 4,426 of 5,386". American Paintings and sculpture. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  5. Griffin, 2004, p. 59
  6. Griffin, 2004, p. 61
  7. "The Ironworkers' Noontime, 1880". Cosmopolitan and Candid Stories, 1877–1915. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  8. Kathleen A. Foster and Cheryl Leibold, Writing About Eakins (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), p. 220.
  9. Schwartz, 1982, p. 16
  10. "Boys with a Boat, Ohio River, near Wheeling, West Virginia". Collections. Smithsonian American Art Museum. 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  11. "Thomas P. Anshutz". Past exhibitions. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 2011. Archived from the original on 19 September 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  12. "Thomas Pollock Anshutz". Collection. Carnegie Museum of Art. 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2013.