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Riter Fitzgerald

Date: ca. 1895
Dimensions:
22 x 18 in. (55.9 x 45.7 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation
Object Number: 83.8.14
Label Text:Thomas Eakins often portrayed professional men-including doctors, clergymen, professors, and scientists-deep in thought, a pose befitting people who worked with their minds as much as their hands. Journalist Riter Fitzgerald, a Philadelphia art critic and friend of Eakins, is shown sitting in an easy chair with a book in his lap, his head raised as if contemplating something he has just read.

This oil sketch is a study for a large portrait of Riter Fitzgerald that Eakins painted in 1895 (now at the Art Institute of Chicago). He gave this version to Fitzgerald's sister, a gesture that reflected the warm friendship he had with the critic's family. Fitzgerald, for his part, was a staunch advocate of Eakins's work. Of this painting, Fitzgerald quipped, "it is undoubtedly one of the finest portraits Eakins ever painted."