About This Artwork

Thomas Eakins
American, 1844–1916

Riter Fitzgerald, 1895

Oil on canvas
193.7 x 163.2 cm (76 1/4 x 64 1/4 in.)
Signed, lower left on base of bookcase: "EAKINS 95"

Friends of American Art Collection; Goodman Fund, 1950.1511

Riter Fitzgerald—the art, music, and literary critic for the Philadelphia Evening Item—championed Thomas Eakins’s work and publicly defended the artist when his teaching methods proved controversial. Eakins’s portrait of the journalist is informed by Fitzgerald’s open-minded opinions, his appreciation of diverse art forms, and his commitment to intellectual life. Comfortably seated in his book-lined library, Fitzgerald is portrayed as a genteel man who enjoys a leisurely, yet contemplative lifestyle. With an open book in his lap, he thoughtfully gazes into the distance, peacefully lost in the realm of ideas.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Philadelphia, Earles’ Galleries, Eakins Exhibition, 1876.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Sixty-fifth Annual Exhibition, Dec. 23, 1895–Feb. 22, 1896, cat. 112, as Portrait of Riter Fitzgerald, Esq.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late Thomas Eakins, Dec. 23, 1917–Jan. 13, 1918, cat. 112, as Portrait: Riter Fitzgerald, Critic.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins 1844–1916, 1930, cat. 76.

Pittsburg, Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Thomas Eakins, 1844–1916: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, Apr. 26–June 1, 1944, cat. 23.

New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Jan. 17–Feb. 16, 1958.

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Thomas Eakins: A Retrospective Exhibition, Oct. 8–Nov. 12, 1961, cat. 65; traveled to Art Institute of Chicago, Dec. 1, 1961–Jan. 7, 1962, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 1–Mar. 18, 1962.

New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, A Loan Exhibition of the Works of Thomas Eakins, 1844–1944, Sept.–Nov. 1970.

San Marino, Calif., Huntington Museum, July 10, 1986–Apr. 17, 1987.

Publication History

Riter Fitzgerald, “A Great Exhibition,” Philadelphia Evening Item, Dec. 22, 1895, p. 8.

“Industrial Art,” Philadelphia Evening Item, Oct. 8, 1895, f.p.

“The Academy,” Philadelphia Evening Item, Dec. 23,1895, f.p.

“Thomas Eakins,” Philadelphia Evening Item, May 12, 1896, f.p.

“Riter Fitzgerald Dies on Train,” Philadelphia Sunday Item, Mar. 5, 1911, f.p.

N.N., “The Thomas Eakins Exhibition,” Nation 106 (Feb. 18, 1918), pp. 217–18.

Alan Burroughs, “Catalogue of Work by Thomas Eakins,” Arts (June 1924), pp. 328–33.

“Thomas Eakins 1844–1916,” Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin 25, 133 (Mar. 1930).

Lloyd Goodrich, Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1933), ill.

Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916: A Retrospective Exhibition of his Paintings, exh. cat. (Baltimore Museum of Art, 1936).

Roland McKinney, Thomas Eakins (Crown Publishers, 1942), p. 72.

Margaret McHenry, The Eakins Who Painted (Oreland, Penn., Weathwood, 1946).

“An American Survey, Paintings form Two Centuries,” The Kennedy Quarterly (New York, Kennedy Galleries, 1967), n.pag.

Sylvan Schendler, Eakins (Little, Brown, and Company, 1967), no. 61.

Gordon Hendricks, The Life and Work of Thomas Eakins (Grossman Publishers, 1974), ill.

Phyllis D. Rosenzweig, The Thomas Eakins Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977).

Theodor Siegl, The Thomas Eakins Collection (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1978).

Evan Turner, “Thomas Eakins: The Earles’ Galleries Exhibition of 1896,” Arts Magazine 53, 9 (May 1979), pp. 100–07.

Lloyd Goodrich, Thomas Eakins (Harvard University Press, 1982), ill.

Darrel Sewell, Thomas Eakins: Artist of Philadelphia (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982).

Elizabeth Johns, Thomas Eakins: The Heroism of Modern Life (Princeton University Press, 1983).

“Thomas Eakins: The Quest for Truth,” Art Institute of Chicago Centennial Lectures, Museum Studies 10 (Contemporary Books, 1983).

David Lubin, Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James (Yale University Press, 1985).

Michael Fried, Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane (University of Chicago Press, 1987).

Kathleen A. Foster and Cheryl Leibold, Writing About Eakins: The Manuscripts in Charles Bregler’s Thomas Eakins Collection (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989).

William J. Clark, “The Iconography of Gender in Thomas Eakins Portraiture,” American Studies 32, 2 (Fall 1991), pp. 5–28.

Willliam Innes Homer, Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art (Abbeville Press Publishers, 1992), ill.

John Wilmerding, Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) and the Heart of American Life (National Portrait Gallery, 1993), p. 193.

Adam Gopnik, “Eakins in the Wilderness,” New Yorker (Dec. 26, 1994/Jan. 2, 1995), pp. 78–91.

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 299-301, no. 153

Ownership History

Riter Fitzgerald, Philadelphia, from 1895 to 1911; Geraldine Hubbard (Mrs. Jacob K. Spare), Philadelphia, from 1911 to 1930; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, from 1930 to 1950; M. Knoedler and Company, New York City, 1950; sold to The Art Institute of Chicago, 1950.

Interpretive Resources

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