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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Thomas Eakins, American, 1844–1916



Oil on canvas

65 × 52 1/2 in. (165.1 × 133.4 cm)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
Overpowered by the ponderous interior, a small young woman in a filmy white dress seems engulfed by darkness. Yet the scene contains signs of life: the open fan flutters as she tries to attract the attention of the kitten lying in her lap, which raises a paw in response to her teasing, bony fingers. Kathrin Crowell was the sister of Thomas Eakins’s best friend, William. Two years after Eakins painted her portrait, she became the artist’s fiancée; the engagement lasted for five years, until her death from meningitis at age twenty-eight.
Made in United States
On view
19th century

Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 141, 316, 324–25, fig. 274.

Nicholas Fox Weber, The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (New York: Aldred A. Knopf, 2007), ill.

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 328–30, no. 210, ill.

Akela Reason, Thomas Eakins and the Uses of History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 57, fig. 20.

Steven Conn et al., An Eakins Masterpiece Restore: Seeing The Gross Clinic Anew, eds. Kathleen A. Foster and Mark Tucker (Philadephia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2012), 98, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.