February 7, 2011

The Thinker by Thomas Eakins

The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton, 1900
Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
Oil on canvas
82 x 42 in. (208.3 x 106.7 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917 (17.172)

Louis N. Kenton (1865–1947) was Eakins' brother-in-law, having married Elizabeth Macdowell (1858–1953), sister of the artist's wife Susan, in 1889. Elizabeth studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, exhibited professionally, and traveled widely. Her marriage to Kenton was stormy and apparently brief, and very little is known of it, or of Kenton. The title associated with this portrait, The Thinker, was at one time based upon an inscription on the reverse that apparently was placed there by Susan Eakins. Beginning in 1900, the portrait was in the Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

Source: Thomas Eakins: The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton (17.172) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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