Thomas Anshutz

Thomas Pollock Anshutz (1851-1912) was born in Campbell County, Kentucky to Jacob and Abigal Jane (Pollock) Anshutz in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), on October 5, 1851. Twenty years later, he was an art student in Philadelphia seeking the best anatomy classes. He found Thomas Eakins (1844-1915) at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. With Eakins and Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), he analyzed anatomical movement through photography. The name Thomas Anshutz brings to mind his masterpiece of male anatomy Ironworkers’ Noontime, 1880.

Thomas Anshutz, Ironworker's Noontime, 1880

Thomas Anshutz, Ironworker’s Noontime , 1880
de Young Museum, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, 1979.7.4
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd

But, Anshutz also absorbed Eakins psychological engagement with is portrait subjects. Eventually, Anshutz  replaced Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy following Eakins nude model scandal in 1886.  Although Anshutz was best known as a teacher of art in his own time, he was a great artist in his own right.

In the Gilded Age, artists often cast their subjects as royalty. Many followed the lead of the masterful John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Anshutz’s work struck a balance between Eakins psychological realism and Sargent’s elegant sophistication.  When Anshutz used the popular pose for women reclining on furniture, his subjects were not anonymous, effete and helpless as many were portrayed. He painted women as individuals with character. His students, among them, Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Robert Henri and John Sloan, built on the techniques and sentiments of their mentor.

Thomas Anshutz, Mrs. Anshutz, 1893

Thomas Anshutz, Mrs. Anshutz,1893
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1976_16_l

Thomas Anshutz, The Incense Burner, c 1905 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1940_11_l

Thomas Anshutz, The Incense Burner , c 1905
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1940_11_l

Thomas Anshutz, A Rose, 1907 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 1993

Thomas Anshutz, A Rose, 1907
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 1993

Thomas Anshutz, The Tanagra, 1909 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1912_1_l

Thomas Anshutz, The Tanagra, 1909
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1912_1_l

 

Thomas Anshutz, Self-Portrait, c 1909, University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Anshutz, Self-Portrait, c 1909, University of Pennsylvania

About Patricia Moss

Patricia Moss is an art historian, or art detective if you will, who solves mysteries of 19th century American portraits. She located nearly 70 of Bingham’s lost portraits, a feat acknowledged by the Smithsonian’s Research and Scholar’s Center. From expertise with portraits of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), she developed skills that evolved into a comprehensive system based on the scientific method that conforms to the legal and ethical standards of art authentication. Moss served as a guest curator for the Bingham Bicentennial Exhibit, “Steamboats to Steam Engines: George Caleb Bingham’s Missouri: 1819-1879,” (March 10-September 8, 2011) at the Truman Presidential Museum and curated the opening exhibition, “George Caleb Bingham: Witness to History,” (September 2013 –), Jackson County Art Museum, Independence, Missouri. She is also the principal researcher for Fine Art Investigations.
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