Thursday, December 07, 2006

NY vs Philly- Hicks vs Eakins

In today's NY Times there is a story about the conservation of the portraits in the NY City Hall. What struck me is the contrast between the way art is treated in the two cities. In NY they find ways to celebrate their cultural heritage while in Philly it seems like an afterthought. NY has an active Art Commission while Philly closed the Office of Art and Culture. Both have art painted by leading 19th. Century painters.

Thomas Hicks worked in NY before Thomas Eakins worked in Philly. They both studied at PAFA, traveled to Europe to study painting and painted portraits of famous people of their day. Thomas Hicks is almost lost to the history of art in America, eclipsed in fame by his now famous older cousin Edward Hicks. Thomas Eakins is regarded as one of the finest portrait painters of all time in Philadelphia. Style and taste change in our culture. What was important yesterday will be set aside tomorrow.

While there are many artists in the past there will always be new artists to define the current culture. Art is not frozen in time.


Post a Comment

<< Home