[ This photograph was Identify the Painter (31)]
Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)
Detail from: The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton 1900
Oil on canvas
Like James McNeil Whistler, William Merritt Chase, John Singer Sargent, and other painters of his time, Eakins admired and emulated Diego Velázquez’s full-length portraits of King Philip IV of Spain and his courtiers. Eakins began the twentieth century with one of his strongest canvases in that vein, a brooding portrayal of Louis N. Kenton (1865-1947), who had married his wife’s sister in 1899. Kenton’s occupation and interests are unknown, and the marriage was an unhappy one. Eakin’s powerful portrait seems to transcend specificity and to encode the spirit of modern man on the brink of the new century: “1900” is inscribed on the floor, below the artist’s signature.
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917
From the placard: Metropolitan Museum of Art