EAKINS, THOMAS COWPERTHWAITE
American painter, sculptor, photographer, and teacher
Eakins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and began his career by assisting his father, Benjamin, as a calligrapher and teacher of penmanship. His interests in draftsmanship extended beyond decorative writing, however, and from 1862 until his departure for Paris in 1866 Eakins studied drawing and anatomy at the Penn- sylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. In Paris, he enrolled at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts and became a pupil in the ateliers of Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat. Although he likely had gained exposure to photography before traveling to Europe, there Eakins learned about the documentary and artistic value of using photographs as study tools with which to compose and add subtle details to paintings. He also came to believe that an understanding of the mechanics and structure of the human body was the true basis for creating art.
Returning to Philadelphia in 1870, Eakins later joined the PAFA staff as an assistant instructor. In 1878 he was approached by the school’s Chairman of Instruction, Fairman Rogers, to help him solve a visual puzzle. When Eadweard Muybridge publicized his motion photographs of racehorses, the size, lack of detail, and inconsistent intervals of the serial images kept Rogers from testing them for accuracy of movement. Rogers hired Eakins to produce drawings of the photographs with which the artist would reconstruct the horses’ positions in a con- sistent series. The two men could then test the results by “reanimating” the photographs in a zoetrope. Eakins applied his results to painting, depicting Rogers riding with his own team of horses in A May Morning in the Park (Fairman Rogers Four-in-Hand) (1879–80).
Muybridge later continued his Animal Locomotion project at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1884 Eakins joined him in his work. The two men outfitted a track with a series of cameras whose shutters were tripped at regular intervals as an animal or human subject walked, ran, or jumped through the space in a full period of motion. Rejecting Muybridge’s use of sequenced negatives, however, Eakins instead recorded successive exposures of motion on a single negative. In photographs such as “History of a Jump” (1885), he adapted Etienne- Jules Marey’s invention of a spinning slotted disk that regularly admitted light to a single point on the open lens of the camera. Muybridge published his photographs in Animal Locomotion in 1888 and included a summary of Eakins’s research in Professor William Marks’s essay, “The Mechanism of Instantaneous Photography.”
Eakins had purchased his own camera by 1880 and soon produced photographic sketches of his family members at home and on the beach at Manasquan, New Jersey. Becoming director of the schools at PAFA in 1882, he captured students posed in period clothing and photographed Margaret Harrison in preparation for his painting, Singing A Pathetic Song (1881).
By 1881, Eakins employed a magic lantern or an- other device to project his photographic images onto his painting supports. In his earliest attempts, he traced the outlines of the projected forms in pencil but later abandoned this underdrawing technique and used the projections to incise tiny reference marks onto his can- vases. In two versions of Shad Fishing at Gloucester on the Delaware River (1881), he utilized multiple projected photographs to compose his paintings with marks made during the various stages of the painting process. (See Tucker and Gutman in Thomas Eakins, 2001, Further Reading.)
Beginning about 1883, Eakins undertook three photographic studies of the nude for use in his painting and his teaching at PAFA and the Philadelphia Art Students’ League. Many of these images were made with the assistance of or, often, by his students, includ- ing Susan Macdowell, whom he married in 1884. One group of nudes, taken in the studio, was comprised of photographic “académies”—studies of poses echoing classical sculpture and painting—that might be used in the creation of narrative art. Insisting that students should learn from life rather than by drawing or paint- ing only from classical casts, he had them pose for each other in these photographs. Depicting a reclining nude Bill Duckett or an unnamed female model reposed in the manner of an odalisque, he and the students created beautiful and technically useful images.
In 1883 Eakins also pictured his students, profes- sional models, and himself posing in a separate group of images he called the “naked series.” “J. Laurie Wal- lace: Naked Series” and others from the group showed subjects in uniform standing poses seen from seven perspectives. Mary Panzer has linked these photographs
to Eakins’s motion series, stating that whereas the mo- tion photographs revealed the body’s position in action, the naked series showed comparable views of weight shifts in the stationary figure. (see Danly and Leibold, 42, Further Reading). Hanging these images together in the PAFA studio, Eakins and his students used them to determine both the figures’ centers of gravity and their differences of physique within identical poses. The photographs helped them to paint, draw, or sculpt figures with lifelike volume and movement.
Eakins’s third collection of nudes featured himself and his students together in idyllic communion with nature. These pictures were taken during outdoor excursions to nearby locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and provided the backbone for Eakins’s paintings Arcadia (c. 1883), An Arcadian (c. 1883), and The Swimming Hole (1884–85). Referencing both a classical past and a present of unashamed camarade- rie, the photographs exhibited the bonds of friendship and honest integrity that linked teacher and students in their drive for artistic professionalism. These bonds were maintained in the display and production of nude photographs at the Art Students’ League after Eakins’s forced departure from PAFA in 1886.
From the 1890s until his death in 1916, Eakins’s in- terest in photography appears to have diminished as he concentrated his efforts on painting portraits. His work would influence the work of Eva Watson-Schütze and other pictorialist photographers, however. In tribute to his work as a photographic pioneer, members of the pic- torialistCameraClubofNewYorkincludedtwoimages of bathers by Eakins in their 1899–1900 exhibition.
Meredith Key Soles
Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins was born to Benjamin and Caroline Cowperthwaite Eakins on 25 July 1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He first studied drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1866 to 1869. Returning to spend his career in Philadelphia, he became an instructor and, in 1882, the director of schools at PAFA. He married one of his students, Susan Hannah Macdowell, in 1884. Eakins was dismissed from his director’s position in 1886 after he removed the loincloth from a male model posing for a class of female students. Thereafter, he continued to lecture at the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Art Students’ Leagues, the Women’s Art School of the Cooper Union, and the National Academy of Design. Although he showed his painting and sculpture nation- ally and internationally, the only recorded exhibitions of his photographs were the 1886 display of “History of a Jump” in the Philadelphia Photographic Society an- nual at PAFA and that of two bathers at the 1899–1900 New York Camera Club exhibit. Eakins was active as lecturer and portrait painter until shortly before his death in Philadelphia on 25 June 1916.
Eakins, Thomas. Eakins, Thomas. Nude Men on the Beach. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1943 (43.87.23) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
EASTLAKE, SIR CHARLES LOCK (1793–1865)
Born 17 November 1793 in Plymouth, England, Charles Lock Eastlake was, “the first, and perhaps still the great- est, of that tribe of cultural bureaucrats who...were to become the most significant manipulators of taste and controllers of artistic power...” Sir Charles Lock Eastlake is easily confused with his nephew, Charles Locke Eastlake (1836–1906). The younger Eastlake, also a Victorian taste-maker, was author of two widely known works, Hints on Household Taste (1868) and A History of the Gothic Revival (1872). Eastlake’s initial ambition was to become a painter and to this end, he studied in France, Greece and Italy from 1816 to 1830. During these years, Eastlake was increasingly influ- enced by a newly emerging German approach to art scholarship that sought to apply a scientific basis to art criticism. He undertook a second career as an art critic and historian culminating in his immensely influential, annotated translation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Zur Farbenlehre (1810) as Goethe’s Theory of Colours (1840)—a publication challenging Newton’s seven- color theory with one based on three primary colours. Eastlake’s other publications included the first volume of Materials for a History of Oil Painting (1847) and a collection of articles entitled Contributions to the Literature of the Fine Arts (1848).
While abroad, Eastlake’s painting and writing at- tracted the attention of his fellow expatriates and London critics to the extent that he was elected, in absentia, as an Associate to the Royal Academy, becoming a full Academician shortly after his return to England. In 1841, Eastlake was appointed Secretary of the Fine Arts Commission, followed in 1842, by an appointment as Librarian of the Royal Academy and in 1843, as Keeper of the National Gallery. Forced to resign from the Gal- lery in 1847 over the mistaken purchase of a forged Holbein, Eastlake was nevertheless appointed President of the Royal Academy in 1850. In 1855, he returned to the National Gallery as its first Director, maintaining that post (as well as his Presidency of the Royal Academy) until his death. Enjoying the full support of both Prince Albert and Parliament, Eastlake greatly expanded the collection of the National Gallery.
Eastlake’s knowledge of and interest in photogra- phy was at least partly due to his association with the writer and critic Elizabeth Rigby whom he may have met as early as 1843. Rigby was at that time living in Edinburgh where she had both written about and posed for David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. As an art critic, Rigby wrote glowingly of a series of Eastlake’s portraits, referring to him in her journal of 2 March 1844 as “the Raphael of England.” Their professional relationship, as advocates of German art historicism in Britain, evolved into a romance and on 9 April 1849, the middle-aged couple was married at St. John’s Church in Edinburgh.
From their position as what Steegman calls a “com- posite personality”1 atop the mid-Victorian art world, the Eastlakes’ support of photography lent considerable prestige to the new medium. The first manifestation of this may have come through Sir Charles’ (he was knighted in 1850) position as a member of the Board of Governors of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Board sanctioned the most ambitious retrospective of photography in the medium’s 12 year history, while the Great Exhibition as a whole recognized photography as both an industrial process and a tool for recording of the event itself.
Eastlake’s involvement with photography continued in the following year as part of the effort to encourage William Henry Fox Talbot to relinquish his patents on the calotype process. Talbot had agreed to the request on the condition that he would be officially asked to do so by major figures in the British artistic community. Together with Lord Rosse, President of the Royal So- ciety of Arts, Eastlake signed the formal request. Talbot responded with a letter allowing free use of the process by all but professional portrait photographers (both documents then being published in the London Times on 13 August 1852). This agreement failed to satisfy the professional photographers, who continued to press Talbot for unconditional release of his patents. It is H.J.P. Arnold’s contention that the impasse became an impetus for Roger Fenton’s organization of the Photographic So- ciety of London while Gail Buckland asserts that it was Talbot’s refusal to relinquish his patents that delayed the Society’s formation. In either case, the effort to placate Talbot by offering him the Presidency of the new society was met with Talbot’s refusal. At its first meeting on 20 January, 1853, it was instead Sir Charles Eastlake who agreed to become the Society’s first President. As Elizabeth would write in her anonymously published 1857 Quarterly Review article, “Photography,” her husband was selected by the members “in order to give
the newly instituted body the support and recognition which art was supposed to owe it.”
Eastlake served two consecutive terms as President of the Photographic Society of London (1853–1855). Although Fenton, as the Society’s Honorary Secretary, was responsible for most of its organizational activities, there is little doubt that the Society benefited directly from Eastlake’s long association with the Royal family. In May 1853, both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert became members and then on 2 June 1853, during the Society’s fifth meeting, a letter from Buckingham Palace announced the bestowal of Royal Patronage upon it. Eastlake was among those who escorted Victoria and Albert through the Society’s first exhibition in January, 1854 at the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists. As the Royal family’s artistic advisor, Eastlake may also be credited with establishing their use of photography as a tool in art historical studies. In 1853, Prince Albert commissioned a systematic photo- graphic record of the Royal family’s Raphael drawings, a work later published as “The Raphael Collection at Windsor Castle.”
Eastlake’s contributions to photography between his departure from the presidency of the Photographic Society and his death in Pisa on 24 December 1865 are more nebulous. Although he and Elizabeth were in close agreement on artistic issues, there is no evidence of his collaboration in her seminal 1857 essay. Perhaps his greatest contribution in those years as before was to lend the considerable weight of the official Victorian art world to at least a consideration of the medium’s legitimacy.
Sir Charles Lock Eastlake was born on 17 November 1793 in Plymouth, England. From 1816–1830, he pursued a career as painter and art historian in France, Greece and Italy. Upon his return to England, Eastlake was appointed to a series of official positions culminat- ing in President of the Royal Academy (1850) and Direc- tor of the National Gallery (1855). Eastlake’s interest in photography was encouraged through his association, from the mid-1840s, with the critic Elizabeth Rigby, whom he married in 1849. In 1852, Eastlake helped mediate the agreement by which William Henry Fox Talbot placed his patents in the public domain for all pur- poses other than portraiture. The following year, he was appointed President of the newly formed Photographic Society of London, a position he retained until 1855. Eastlake’s long collaboration with Victoria and Albert was likely responsible for the Society’s gaining royal patronage. He died in Pisa on 24 December 1865.
EASTMAN, GEORGE (1854–1932)
The close of the 19th century was a watershed in George Eastman’s life (1854–1932): a time when he moved from active, intensive work in photography, from building the factories to market his products and amassing great wealth to a time of relative leisure and the building of in- stitutions to serve humankind through music, medicine, dentistry, philanthropy, racial advancement, and educa- tion both technical and liberal. Spanning this watershed was the photographic revolution he initiated.
As a 23-year-old bank clerk in Rochester, NY with a sixth-grade education, Eastman entered hobby photog- raphy in 1877, purchasing a collodion wet-plate camera and paraphernalia to record trips. He subscribed to the British Journal of Photography in 1878 and in the very first issue, learned about gelatin dry plates. He began producing dry plates for his own use and in 1880, for sale through the E. and H. T. Anthony Company in New
York. He also patented machines to coat the plates, first in London (July 1879) and then in the USA (April 1880).
The bank clerk gained a business partner on 1 Janu- ary 1881 when Col. Henry Alvah Strong, a buggy-whip manufacturer, invested $1,000 in the Eastman Dry Plate Company. Strong would hold the honorific title of president until his death in 1919 with Eastman be- ing the treasurer and general manager (comparable to today’s CEO).
Eastman continued working at the bank until Septem- ber 1881, tending to his dry plate business from 3 pm until midnight and weekends. His reputation for superior plates resulted in a growing business until an emulsion crisis almost closed the business in 1882. He sped to London, photographic capital of the world, “standing in the works” of Mawson & Swan Dry Plate Company for two weeks to learn the reason for the emulsion failure. (His supplier had changed gelatin sources and a vital ingredient—sulfur—was missing.)
Recovering after recalling and replacing the spoiled plates, Eastman soon realized that professional studio photographers and serious amateurs comprised a finite market. In order to grow his business, he would have to target a growing market: everyone. But in the 1880s, hardly anyone entertained the thought of taking pictures himself. Eastman would not only have to simplify photography so that the absolute amateur could take pictures, but he would have to create the desire to do so through advertising and marketing. Part of his genius was combining innovation, simplicity, and quality prod- ucts with pithy slogans such as “You press the button, we do the rest.”
From 1881 on, Eastman pursued transparent, flexible substitutes for heavy, breakable glass, marketing a pa- per-backed film and roll film holder in 1884. His inabil- ity to produce a film without the paper backing led him to hire an undergraduate chemist, Henry Reichenbach, to spend all of his time working on this quandary.
Eastman tinkered until he had constructed a simple, hand-held camera that used the paper-backed film and that anyone, even the rankest amateur, could operate. The Eastman Detective camera (1886) was a dismal failure but the Kodak camera (1888) was a runaway success.
While anyone could take pictures with Eastman’s simple Kodak system, developing the paper-backed film was devilishly difficult. So in 1886, he started a photo-finishing business—probably the first in the world. Factory processing of the finished product cir- cumvented the professional photographer and created a vast new market undreamed of by Daguerre and other early photographers.
When the Kodak camera was introduced, it came loaded with a roll of film with 100 exposures. After the photographer had finished the roll, he could send the whole camera back to Rochester where the film was developed, prints were made and sent back along with the reloaded camera. (Daylight-loading film was invented in 1892.)
Finally in August 1889, Eastman introduced Reichen- bach’s transparent, flexible nitrate film. The difference in film quality was so obvious that film and camera sales soared again. The 1890s saw the photographic revolution continue with smaller, more efficient camera models culminating in the Brownie camera of 1900, marketed for $1 and taking a roll of film costing 15 cents.
As the first to market film, and the maker of the best film in the 1890s, Eastman was poised to take advantage of the introduction of x-ray photography (1896) and motion pictures. In 1889, Thomas Edison purchased 50 feet of double-thick Kodak film for his Kinetescope, a prototype motion picture machine. When projectors came into use (ca. 1895), they took miles of film. Eastman’s company was the only one poised to meet these needs.
The key to Eastman’s business success initially was a combination of business and marketing skills and in- sights, a technological orientation, continuous personal innovation of products, especially cameras, acquiring all patents that related to the company’s principal products, and enforcing those patents through lawsuits. Soon he added recruiting employees with technical skills, intense and clever advertising, worldwide distribution of prod- ucts, the outmaneuvering of competitors, and the raising of capital. The photographic manufacturing business was highly competitive but Eastman was able to win dominance not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe.
By 1900, twenty years after going into business, the company started by a bank clerk and whip manufac- turer was the largest photographic materials business in the world. At the same time, Eastman’s own personal technical activities ceased as he delegated many of the functions that he had earlier personally performed. He credited his talented staff with “switching Kodak Park from the empirical to the scientific path.”
In 1898, Eastman refinanced the company in London, financial capital of the world, acting as his own broker against the furious opposition of London bankers and brokers, emerging with a personal profit of $1 million. He shared the profit with employees on both sides of the Atlantic—the first Kodak Bonus. This unprecedented move was later institutionalized as wage dividends (1912), savings and loan schemes (1921), stock options, and benefit and pension plans (1929). His reorganiza- tion of the Eastman Kodak Company indicated a shift in interest toward the construction of new facilities and finance.
By 1904, Eastman was pursuing techniques of color photography. The most serious effort began in 1914 with the introduction of a two-color color technique named Kodachrome that was good for portraits and still lifes but not landscapes.
The Bayer Company, a large German chemical com- pany that employed 800 research scientists in a proto- typical industrial research laboratory founded in 1891, influenced Eastman to change the focus of Kodak’s testing laboratory to a research one in 1912.
Because of his burning desire for a better color pro- cess, Eastman hired the British research chemist C. E. Kenneth Mees of Wratten & Wainwright to establish the Kodak Research Laboratory (KRL). He considered Mees the world’s foremost color authority because of his experience with color-sensitized plates. Mees brought with him a large contingent of Britain’s best photographic scientists.
Before Mees, Kodak had a 30-year tradition of tech- nical innovation with Eastman himself handling much of the experimental and developmental work on gelatin dry plates, photographic printing papers, and the new system of roll film. He began to control raw materials through contracts such as that with the General Paper Company. He then gradually built the capacity to pro- duce vitally needed materials, for example, raw paper, gelatin, chemicals, and lenses. In the first decade of the 20th century, he bought twenty major photographic retail stores in large cities across the U.S. and in Canada.
While Mees’s knowledge of color photography may have been the main reason that Eastman hired him, he also told Mees that his job was “the future of photogra- phy,” giving him unbridled leeway to develop research along whatever lines it happened to lead. Mees and other members of Eastman’s carefully selected management team ensured the future of the company.
The company’s growth was based on innovation, quality control, expansion and the acquisition of know- how purchased from outside sources. Eastman often bought small companies in order to obtain superior products such as the emulsion-making formulas and services of William Stuber. But he recognized that he could not continue this indefinitely in an era when the federal government was investigating him for antitrust violations. Also, the development of new color processes required knowledge that Eastman and his staff did not have and color offered an opportunity to solidify Ko- dak’s leadership position. In addition, Eastman desired that Kodak rank among the corporate trendsetters of his time such as Bayer.
While Eastman’s historical importance rests on his roles as business entrepreneur and visionary industrial- ist; he was also a zealous patriot. Thus, during World War I he directed the Kodak Research Laboratories (KRL) to lend its resources to the U. S. armed services. This resulted in advances in experimental aerial pho- tography, camouflage (the most effective way to paint a surface vessel to avoid detection by submarines), and colloidal fuels. Most important, Eastman set up a Synthetic Organic Chemicals Department to counteract the utter dependency on German chemicals such as sen- sitizing dyes and photographic developing agents. By 1921, this department was producing more than 1000 specialty chemicals.
The first major post-war product from the KRL was amateur motion picture film in 1923. Eastman continued pressing Mees to market a color technology (done in 1928, prematurely). In 1920, Eastman had interviewed the young Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky— who would eventually produce the groundbreaking Kodachrome film in 1935 under Mees’s aegis, three years after Eastman’s death.
Eastman’s role as philanthropist is impressive too. His interest in Rochester projects was partly to make the city a “better place for Kodak people to live and raise a family.” His rationale for founding the East- man School of Music—“What you do in your working hours determines what you have; what you do in your leisure hours determines what you are”—could refer to his stimulus for other charitable gifts. Pragmatism and personal appeal were the foundation of his philanthropic philosophy. Trained technicians were important to his business so he became an early fund-raiser for what is today the Rochester Institute of Technology. His reliance on “the good stock” coming to Kodak from the Massa- chusetts Institute of Technology led him to build a new campus for MIT as an anonymous donor merely known as “Mr. Smith.” His concern about preventive dentistry for children had a personal—he and his mother had poor teeth and gums—as well as a community service component. His gift of the Rochester Dental Dispensary led to an Eastman Dental Clinic in five European cities: London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, and Stockholm.
In 1920, when Rockefeller philanthropic interests, led by Abraham Flexner, proposed that he establish a medical school—modeled after Johns Hopkins Univer- sity—at the University of Rochester, he readily agreed to expand his health care interests. He and Henry Strong’s family founded Strong Memorial Hospital and the school/hospital complex continues as the region’s largest and most complete medical center and after the Eastman Kodak Company, the area’s premier employer.
Eastman owned the only old master art collection in Rochester, bequeathed to the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. The university’s Eastman School of Music is a conservatory for training perform- ers and teachers and its Eastman Theatre, originally a silent film theater, continues as home to the Eastman-
founded Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The musi- cal complex had as its goal the training of listeners and the music school often leads the list when “best” music schools in the country are named.
The son of abolitionists, Eastman became his gener- ation’s greatest contributor to African American educa- tion. His early interest in technical education widened to include liberal arts, education for minorities, music education and women’s education—particularly at the University of Rochester.
Despite a myriad of charitable gifts, Eastman con- sidered his major philanthropic contribution to be the company he founded that provided so much work for so many people.