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

Taking the Count


Oil on canvas

framed: 104 x 92 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (264.16 x 234.95 x 6.35 cm) unframed: 96 7/8 x 84 5/8 x 1 7/16 in. (246.06 x 214.95 x 3.65 cm)
Whitney Collections of Sporting Art, given in memory of Harry Payne Whitney, B.A. 1894, and Payne Whitney, B.A. 1898, by Francis P. Garvan, B.A. 1897, M.A. (Hon.) 1922
Taking the Count celebrates Thomas Eakins’s lifelong fascination with athleticism and human endurance. A fallen fighter struggles to recover from a punishing blow, as all eyes in the crowd focus on the referee counting off the seconds that could mark the end of the match. The actual fight took place in Philadelphia on Friday, April 29, 1898, between Charley McKeever (standing) and Jack Daly and was refereed by H. Walter Schlichter. Until Eakins undertook the subject, visual representations of prize fighting had been found almost exclusively in the press and in prints. With this monumental painting, the first of Eakins’s three great boxing pictures, the artist placed the theme into the context of the fine arts, a stunning statement set against the genteel conventions of the period.
19th century
Not on view

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 102–3, fig. 97.

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.