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Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is a museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 and art school
Art school
Art school is a general term for any educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts, especially illustration, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design. The term applies to institutions with elementary, secondary, post-secondary or undergraduate, or graduate or...

 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. It was founded in 1805 and is the oldest art museum and school in the United States. The academy's museum is internationally known for its collections of 19th and 20th century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Its archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training.

History


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Willson Peale
Charles Willson Peale
Charles Willson Peale was an American painter, soldier and naturalist. He is best remembered for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution, as well as establishing one of the first museums....

, sculptor William Rush
William Rush
William Rush was a U.S. neoclassical sculptor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is considered the first major American sculptor....

, and other artists and business leaders. The growth of the Academy of Fine Arts was slow. It held its exhibitions for many years in a modern building of the Ionic order
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

 designed by John Dorsey which was built in 1806, and stood on the site of the American Theater on Chestnut Street
Chestnut Street (Philadelphia)
Chestnut Street is a major historic street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally named Wynne Street because Thomas Wynne's home was there. William Penn renamed it Chestnut Street in 1684. It runs east–west from the Delaware River waterfront in downtown Philadelphia through Center City and West...

. It opened as a museum in 1807 and held its first exhibition in 1811 where more than 500 paintings and statuary were on display. The first school classes held in the building were with the Society of Artists in 1810. The Academy was reconstructed after the fire of 1845, and 23 years later steps were taken to construct a building more worthy of its treasures, the current Furness-Hewitt
Frank Furness
Frank Heyling Furness was an acclaimed American architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his eclectic, muscular, often idiosyncratically scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan...

 building opened in 1876.

In 1876, former Academy student Thomas Eakins
Thomas Eakins
Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator...

 returned to teach as a volunteer. Fairman Rogers
Fairman Rogers
Fairman Rogers was an American civil engineer, educator, and philanthropist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

, chairman of the Committee on Instruction, 1878–1883, made him a faculty member in 1878, and promoted him to director in 1882. Eakins re-vamped the certificate curriculum to what it remains today. Students in the certificate program learn fundamentals of drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking (lithography
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

) for two years, after which they enjoy two years of independent study, guided by frequent, helpful critiques from faculty, students, and visiting artists alike.

From 1811 to 1969, the Academy also organized important annual art exhibitions from which significant acquisitions were made. Harrison S. Morris, Managing Director from 1892 to 1905, collected contemporary American art for the institution. Among the many masterpieces acquired during his tenure were works by Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux was an American society portraitist, in the manner of John Singer Sargent. She was a near contemporary of better-known American artist Mary Cassatt and also received her training in Philadelphia and France...

, William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase was an American painter known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons The New School for Design.- Early life and training :He was born in Williamsburg , Indiana, to the family...

, Frank Duveneck
Frank Duveneck
Frank Duveneck was an American figure and portrait painter.-Youth:Duveneck was born in Covington, Kentucky, the son of German immigrant Bernard Decker. Decker died when Frank was only a year old and his widow remarried Joseph Duveneck...

, Thomas Eakins
Thomas Eakins
Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator...

, Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America and a preeminent figure in American art....

, Childe Hassam
Childe Hassam
Frederick Childe Hassam was a prolific American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. Along with Mary Cassatt and John Henry Twachtman, Hassam was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and museums...

, and Edmund Tarbell. Work by The Eight
Ashcan School
The Ashcan School, also called the Ash Can School, is defined as a realist artistic movement that came into prominence in the United States during the early twentieth century, best known for works portraying scenes of daily life in New York's poorer neighborhoods. The movement grew out of a group...

, which included former Academy students Robert Henri
Robert Henri
Robert Henri was an American painter and teacher. He was a leading figure of the Ashcan School in art.- Early life :...

 and John Sloan
John French Sloan
John French Sloan was an American artist. As a member of The Eight, he became a leading figure in the Ashcan School of realist artists. He was known for his urban genre painting and ability to capture the essence of neighborhood life in New York City, often through his window...

, is well represented in the collection, and provides a transition between 19th- and 20th- century art movements.
From 1890 to 1906, Edward Hornor Coates
Edward Hornor Coates
Edward Hornor Coates was a Philadelphia businessman, financier, and patron of the arts and sciences...

 served as the tenth president of the Academy. Painter John McLure Hamilton
John McLure Hamilton
John McLure Hamilton was an Anglo-American artist. He was born in Philadelphia and began his art education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, under Thomas Eakins. Later he travelled to Europe and continued his education at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the Royal Academy in...

, who began his art education at the Academy under Thomas Eakins
Thomas Eakins
Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator...

, describes the contributions Mr. Coates made during his tenure:

The reign of Mr. Coates at the Academy marked the period of its greatest prosperity. Rich endowments were made to the schools, a gallery of national portraiture was formed, and some of the best examples of Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Charles Stuart was an American painter from Rhode Island.Gilbert Stuart is widely considered to be one of America's foremost portraitists...

's work acquired. The annual exhibitions attained a brilliancy and éclat hitherto unknown... Mr. Coates wisely established the schools upon a conservative basis, building almost unconsciously the dykes high against the oncoming flow of insane novelties in art patterns... In this last struggle against modernism the President was ably supported by Eakins, Anschutz
Thomas Pollock Anshutz
Thomas Pollock Anshutz was an American painter and teacher. Co-founder of The Darby School and leader at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Anshutz was known for his award winning portraiture work and working friendship with Thomas Eakins.-Personal life and education:Thomas Anshutz was born in...

, Grafly
Charles Grafly
Charles Allan Grafly, Jr. was an American sculptor and educator. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for 37 years.-Life and career:...

, Thouron, Vonnoh
Robert Vonnoh
Robert William Vonnoh was an American Impressionist painter known for his portraits and landscapes. He traveled extensively between the East Coast and France, more specifically the artists colony Grez-sur-Loing....

, and Chase
William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase was an American painter known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons The New School for Design.- Early life and training :He was born in Williamsburg , Indiana, to the family...

... His unfailing courtesy, his disinterested thoughtfulness, his tactfulness, and his modesty endeared him to scholars and masters alike. No sacrifice of time or of means was too great, if he thought he could accomplish the end he always had in view—the honour and the glory of the Academy. It was under Mr. Coates' enlightened direction that was fulfilled the expressed wish of Benjamin West
Benjamin West
Benjamin West, RA was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence...

, the first honorary Academician, that "Philadelphia may be as much celebrated for her galleries of paintings by the native genius of the country, as she is distinguished by the virtues of her people ; and that she may be looked up to as the Athens of the Western World in all that can give polish to the human mind."

Women at the Academy


The 1844 Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts declaration that women artists “would have exclusive use of the statue gallery for professional purposes” and study time in the museum on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings signifies a significant advance towards formal training in art for women. Prior to the founding of the Academy, there were limited opportunities for women to receive professional training in the United States. Realizing the rise in interest of young women, this period between the mid-19th and early 20th century shows a remarkable growth of formally trained women artists.

By 1860 female students were allowed to take anatomy and antique courses (drawing from antique casts). In addition, women enjoyed their newly acquired library and gallery access. Life classes, the study of the nude body, were available to women in the spring of 1868 with female models and with male models six years later. This came after much debate on the appropriateness of women viewing the nude male form.

It took 24 years before women could take full advantage of all aspects of training at the prestigious institution. After 1868 women took more active leadership roles and achieved influential positions. For example, Catherine Drinker, at the age of 27, was the first woman to teach at the academy in 1878. One of her pupils, her younger cousin Cecilia Beaux, would leave a lasting legacy at the academy as the first female faculty member to instruct painting and drawing beginning in 1895. By the 1880s women had become competitors against men for top accolades and recognitions. Not until much later, however, did the academy gain its first woman on the Board of Directors in 1950.

Even as women artists were making progress in the United States, it remained more difficult in Europe. Women that chose to travel overseas typically studied the works of master artists in the galleries not in classes. In this regard, the U.S. was more progressive than Europe at the time.

The Academy today



The Museum


Since its founding, the Academy has collected works by leading American artists, as well as works by distinguished alumni and faculty of its school. Today, the Academy maintains its strong collecting tradition with the inclusion of works by modern and contemporary American artists. Acquisitions and exhibition programs are balanced between historical and contemporary art, and the museum continues to show works by contemporary regional artists and features annual displays of work by Academy students. The collection is installed in a chronological and thematic format, exploring the history of American art from the 1760s to the present.

The school


Qualified students who currently attend the Academy may apply for and receive a B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts
In the United States and Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, usually abbreviated BFA, is the standard undergraduate degree for students seeking a professional education in the visual or performing arts. In some countries such a degree is called a Bachelor of Creative Arts or BCA...

) degree from the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

. The two institutions' close ties and collaboration with each other enables qualified students to receive an Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

 degree as well as a diploma from the Academy. The Academy is also known for the Academy BFA degree program offered exclusively in-house, its Master of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts
A Master of Fine Arts is a graduate degree typically requiring 2–3 years of postgraduate study beyond the bachelor's degree , although the term of study will vary by country or by university. The MFA is usually awarded in visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, dance, or theatre/performing arts...

 program, a Post Baccaluareate Certificate in Graduate Studies, extensive continuing education offerings, as well as programs for children and families.

Current news


In 2005, the Academy received the National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

 recognizing the Academy as a leader in fine arts education.

In January 2007, the Pennsylvania Academy, in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

, purchased Thomas Eakins's work The Gross Clinic
The Gross Clinic
The Gross Clinic, or, The Clinic of Dr. Gross, is an 1875 painting by American artist Thomas Eakins. It is oil on canvas and measures by . Dr. Samuel D. Gross, a seventy-year-old professor dressed in a black frock coat, lectures a group of Jefferson Medical College students...

 from the Jefferson Medical School
Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University is a private health sciences university in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. The university consists of six constituent colleges and schools, Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson College of Graduate Studies, Jefferson School of Health...

. This seminal American work will be displayed at both institutions on a rotating basis.

In January 2009, PAFA signed a historic transfer agreement with Camden County College
Camden County College
Camden County College is an accredited, co-educational, two-year, public, community college located in Camden County, New Jersey. Camden County College has three distinct campuses located in Blackwood, Camden and Cherry Hill...

, New Jersey. The "Camden Connection" allows for the transfer of liberal arts and studio classes as well as providing, on a competitive basis, for partial merit scholarships specifically for Camden County College students. Other transfer agreements are now in place with the following community college art departments: Community College of Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia
The Community College of Philadelphia is a community college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The main campus is located at 1700 Spring Garden Street in a building that was the former Philadelphia Mint...

, Montgomery County Community College
Montgomery County Community College
Montgomery County Community College, also known as MCCC, Montco, or MC3, is a 2-year community college offering associate degrees, technical certificates and non-credit courses to the general public...

, Atlantic Cape Community College
Atlantic Cape Community College
Atlantic Cape Community College is an accredited, co-educational, two-year, public, community college located in both Atlantic County and Cape May County in New Jersey. ACCC enrolls more than 6,000 students...

, and Northampton Community College
Northampton Community College
Northampton Community College is a community college in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, USA, just outside the city of Bethlehem. The college, founded in 1967, also has a second campus in Pocono Township in neighboring Monroe County...

.

The Furness-Hewitt building


The current museum building opened in 1876. Designed by the American architects Frank Furness
Frank Furness
Frank Heyling Furness was an acclaimed American architect of the Victorian era. He designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area, and is remembered for his eclectic, muscular, often idiosyncratically scaled buildings, and for his influence on the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan...

 and George Hewitt, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

. As such, it is recognized as an important part of America's and Philadelphia's architectural heritage. It was carefully restored in 1976.
1876 opening notes:
The newly-built Academy of Fine Arts will bear comparison with any institution of its kind in America. It has a front of one hundred feet on Broad Street
Broad Street (Philadelphia)
Broad Street is a major arterial street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is nearly 13 miles long.It is Pennsylvania Route 611 along its entire length with the exception of its northernmost part between Old York Road and Pennsylvania Route 309 and the southernmost part south of Interstate 95...

 and a depth of two hundred and fifty-eight feet on Cherry Street. Its situation, with a street on each of its three sides, and an open space along a considerable portion of the fourth, is very advantageous as regards lighting, and freedom from risk by fire.
It is built of brick, the principal entrance, which is two stories high, being augmented with encaustic tile
Encaustic tile
Encaustic tiles are ceramic tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of the glaze but of different colors of clay. They are usually of two colors but a tile may be composed of as many as six. The pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design remains as...

s, terra-cotta statuary, and light stone dressings. The walls are laid in patterns of red and white brick. Over the main entrance on Broad Street
Broad Street (Philadelphia)
Broad Street is a major arterial street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is nearly 13 miles long.It is Pennsylvania Route 611 along its entire length with the exception of its northernmost part between Old York Road and Pennsylvania Route 309 and the southernmost part south of Interstate 95...

 there is a large Gothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 window with stone tracery. The Cherry Street front is relieved by a colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

 supporting arched windows, back of which is the transept and pointed gable
Gable
A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof. The shape of the gable and how it is detailed depends on the structural system being used and aesthetic concerns. Thus the type of roof enclosing the volume dictates the shape of the gable...

.
Beyond the entrance vestibule
Vestibule (architecture)
A vestibule is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building.The same term can apply to structures in modern or ancient roman architecture. In modern architecture vestibule typically refers to a small room or hall between an entrance and the interior of...

 is the main staircase, which starts from a wide hall and leads to the galleries on the second floor. Along the Cherry Street side of the Academy are five galleries arranged for casts from the antique; and, further on, are rooms for drapery painting, and the life class. These have a clear north light which can never be obstructed.
On the south side, there is a large lecture room, with retiring rooms, and back of these are the modeling rooms and rooms devoted to the use of students and professors.
On the second floor is the main hall, which extends across the building, and is intended for the exhibition of large works of art. This story is divided into galleries, which are lighted from the top. Through the center runs a hall which is set apart for the exhibition of statuary, busts
Bust (sculpture)
A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, as well as a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. These forms recreate the likeness of an individual...

, small statue
Statue
A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, an idea or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger...

s, bas-reliefs, etc. On each side of this hall are picture galleries, which are so arranged in size and form as to admit of classification of pictures, and which can be divided into suits where separate exhibitions may be held at the same time.
The art collections of the gallery are considered the most valuable in America. They comprise the masterpieces of Stuart
Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Charles Stuart was an American painter from Rhode Island.Gilbert Stuart is widely considered to be one of America's foremost portraitists...

, Sully
Thomas Sully
Thomas Sully was an American painter, mostly of portraits.-Early life:Sully was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, to the actors Matthew and Sarah Sully. In March 1792 the Sullys and their nine children immigrated to Richmond, Virginia, where Thomas’s uncle managed a theater...

, Allston
Washington Allston
Washington Allston was an American painter and poet, born in Waccamaw Parish, South Carolina. Allston pioneered America's Romantic movement of landscape painting...

, West
Benjamin West
Benjamin West, RA was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence...

, and others of our early artists, the Gilpin gallery, fine marbles, and facsimiles of famous statues, as well as a magnificent gallery from the antique.

The Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building


In 2002 Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton made a large donation to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts that allowed them to purchase the former federal building and automobile factory at 128 N. Broad Street immediately adjacent to the Frank Furness building. It was renamed in memory of her husband, The Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, renovated, and the School of Fine Arts of the Academy completed its move there in September 2006. The building also contains a special exhibition space called the Fisher Brooks Gallery. It is named after Leonie Brooks and James R. Fisher, an artist who attended PAFA in the late 1880s. They are the mother and grandfather respectively of Marguerite Lenfest
H. F. Lenfest
-Early Life and Career:He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, then later grew up in Scarsdale, New York and Hunterdon County, New Jersey. After attending Flemington High School, and graduating from Mercersburg Academy, Lenfest went on to receive his BA from Washington and Lee University in 1953 and...

, philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

 and board member of PAFA.

The Hamilton building is also home to Portfolio, the museum's gift shop.

List of notable Academy students, faculty, and leadership


Notable Academy students, faculty, and leaders include:

Widener Gold Medal

see main page Widener Gold Medal
Widener Gold Medal
The George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal was an award for sculpture established in 1912 by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.The award recognizes the "most meritorious work of Sculpture modeled by an American citizen and shown in the Annual Exhibition"...



The Academy established the George D. Widener Gold Medal for sculpture in 1912. Widener was a businessman and director of the Academy who died on the RMS Titanic. The award recognizes the "most meritorious work of Sculpture modeled by an American citizen and shown in the Annual Exhibition".

External links