The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: An Ideal and a Symbol

By 1805, the year the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts was founded, Phila­delphia had achieved a large measure of political, social and economic stability. It had been the nation’s capital and contin­ued to thrive as a center of banking and commerce. The largest city in the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century, it was arguably the center of culture, with Boston its...
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“And Who is Eakins?”

By late 1912, in his sixty­-eighth year, Thomas Eakins – who today is frequently referred to as the greatest of American painters, notwithstanding more familiar names such as Homer, Whistler and Wyeth­ – was a tired and ailing man. The compact, rugged physique he had retained throughout his middle years had finally given way; first, briefly, to an almost delicate obesity; then, with...
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Shorts

The first exhibition in Philadelphia devoted to identifying and honoring African American women tap dancers, “Plenty of Good Women Dancers: African American Women Hoofers from Philadelphia,” features glamorous photographs and dancers’ vivid recollec­tions portraying the golden age of swing and rhythm tap of the 1930s and 1940s. “Plenty of Good Women Dancers”...
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Currents

Quilting Time Lancaster County is associated with many things, among them the “Pennsylvania Dutch,” barn raising, the horse and buggy, Amish and Mennonite farmsteads, shoo fly pie, and, of course, quilts. Quilts made in Lancaster County reflect the diversity of cultures and way of life in the region called – because of its verdant beauty and highly productive agricultural...
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Bookshelf

Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation By Kenneth Warren University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 (405 pages, cloth, $32.00) At its formation a century ago, in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was the world’s largest industrial organization. Within its first year, the company was producing two-thirds of America’s raw steel, and soon supported the...
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A Trio of Philadelphia Maritime Painters

Oceans and seas have long challenged civilization’s adventurous spirit. Sailors and their ships have struggled against billowing winds and sweeping tides, as well as fires, piracy, collisions, and warfare. All of this has been celebrated in story and song — and in works of art. Artists of the day captured both the beauty and the rigors of those wonderful ships in their coveted canvases. Three of...
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