Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rx- Save The Gross Clinic

How to save the Gross Clinic from certain death?

During the past week Thomas Eakins painting, “The Gross Clinic" has been on life support. The cause of this sudden illness is the loss of heart by those who have cared for the heroic painting of Dr. Gross for the past one hundred and twenty seven years. The diagnosis is poor and yet there is hope that the cultural icon which has been identified as one of the most important paintings created by an American, can spend a long life in peace residing in it’s hometown.

There is no doubt that everyone agrees as to the importance of this seminal work of art. The meaning of the painting is clear, knowledge and science will provide humankind with medical relief from the pain and suffering of disease. The same virtues that compelled Thomas Eakins to create the vision of Dr. Gross still exist today.

Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania are still the leaders of medical and bio technology. Bio 2005 brought to the city thousands of innovators who still advance the future of science. The Gross Clinic depicts a true hall of famer for the medical profession.

Who then should step up to the plate to revive this treasure? What terrific good will and commitment to the cultural life of the Philadelphia region would be achieved by those companies that work to save lives every day. The Doctors, Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Health Care sector would benefit greatly by the positive image of keeping this treasure home.

Dr. Gross and Mr. Eakins intended that the painting be representative of the greatness of medicine. The Gross Clinic celebrates the man but it also celebrates the lesson of knowledge. Dr. Gross is the central figure but it is the surgery that is the primary focus of the composition. Dr. Gross as represented by Thomas Eakins is teaching the world a lesson. Medicine and surgery were changing as were the artistic principals of the time. Doctors were discovering the methods to treat illness with better tools that would do less harm. Artists were looking at the natural world with eyes focused on the reality of what they could learn. Dr. Gross and Mr. Eakins wanted to be free from the past limits of their arts.

Great publicity will be achieved by those who protect and hold The Gross Clinic up for adulation for all to view in its home town. This is an opportunity that will only come upon the medical community rarely, to give life to its own Icon. Dr. Gross was the leader of his time. Who will lead the effort to save his image?

How to Give
The public can help by giving to the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, established to raise the money to match the sale price of $68 million. Make a tax deductible contribution online at, or mail a check made payable to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece and send it to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, c/o Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19130-7646. The Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece HOTLINE is reachable by calling 215-684-7762.


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