Thomas Eakins' Peculiar Portraits

On a recent trip to the Dallas Museum of Art I encountered the bizarre painting above by Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) of Miss Gertrude Murray, the sister of Eakins’ good friend and studio mate.  It’s an odd little work that stands out in the sea of hyper-flattering, propagandistic portraits we usually see in museums.  I want to know more about this woman—what is she thinking?  Was she pleased with this portrayal?  After my visit, I looked more into Eakins’ work and discovered a cache of striking portraits.  Check them out!  I’m amazing at how he can capture the psychology of a sitter simply by applying paint to a canvas.  
The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton
Portrait of Susan MacDowell Eakins 
Miss Amelia Van Buren   

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