Art History & Appreciation

Thomas Eakins and the World’s Fairs

Event Information
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Advance registration is required.

This is event is being held online. After registering, connection information will be emailed to you.

General Public
$50 / $20 per class
PAFA Members: $35/ $15 per class

Abby King
Image from the Chicago World's Fair in 1893

Thomas Eakins’ two medical masterpieces, The Gross Clinic, and The Agnew Clinic were both displayed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. This lecture series with Dr. Paul Sivitz examines Eakins’ use of a long-standing genre which he “modernized” (and the reason why The Gross Clinic was so off-putting to viewers at the 1876 World’s Fair). We will also explore if Eakins’ participation (essentially virtual, of course) in the Chicago World’s Fair contributed to the racial inequality promoted by the fair’s organizers.

In Class Three, Dr. Sivitz will look at the World’s Fairs in America during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and how they could best be described as “edutainment.” Fair organizers overtly promoted racial inequality, and the Eakins Clinic paintings helped undergird this strategy.

Important Note: To help accommodate diverse schedules, individual class sessions will be recorded and made available to class participants for a week after each class takes place.