Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thomas Eakins "The Gross Clinic" Gives Hope

The letter in the Inky today gives me hope that there are people in the region who understand the connection between art and human well being. Both Dr. Gross and Mr. Eakins knew that life was important and that the knowledge gained by study could lift up humans. I hope that more of the people who have made their wealth on this early testament to health care will see the way to give to keep The Gross Clinic in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia based pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations would create important good will by opening their pockets and giving to the fund to save the painting.

On a personal note I am named for my great uncle, Dr. Charles Schwartz, who was the chief of surgery at a hospital in Germantown PA , where I was born.

Copy of a letter in the inky today:

" 'Gross Clinic' benefit to city: Priceless

The Philadelphia Academy of Surgery, founded by Samuel D. Gross in 1879 and the oldest continuously meeting surgical society in the United States, is extremely dismayed by Thomas Jefferson University's decision to sell Thomas Eakins' portrait of Dr. Gross.

This painting, more popularly referred to as The Gross Clinic, has been called "the most powerful painting ever produced by an American artist" and is a tribute both to Gross and to Philadelphia as a leading center in medicine.

Gross's stature in American medicine is further reflected by the fact that he also founded the American Surgical Association, the nation's most prestigious surgical society.

Eakins' painting is an icon of these accomplishments and, over the years, undoubtedly has stimulated many physicians and Philadelphians to expand upon Gross' and the city's outstanding medical reputation.

Moving this painting from Philadelphia would deprive the region of this priceless benefit.

This is a particular shame since these benefits would likely endure long after the bricks and mortar bought by the painting's sale.

The Council of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery unanimously and strongly feels that Philadelphia is the only proper home of The Gross Clinic.

Robert S. Rhodes
Council of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery"


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