John Biglin in a Single Scull Artist: Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)


American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

In the 1870s, Thomas Eakins drew upon his firsthand knowledge of the popular sport of rowing and his scientific understanding of anatomy, motion, and reflections on water to create a series of rowing pictures. This one features John Biglin, the champion of single sculls, as he practices for a race. Like a figure carved in relief, Biglin displays powerful muscularity in the sculptural roundness of his arms and shoulders. Other details, including the light wear on the wooden thole pin that provides a fulcrum for the oar, are rendered with Eakins’s characteristic precision.


Oil on canvas


24 3/8 × 16 in. (61.9 × 40.6 cm)

Credit Line

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

Accession Number



19th century


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 records is ongoing.



Susan Macdowell Eakins (1851–1938), Philadelphia; Penn Burke, Philadelphia; Francis P. Garvan (1875–1937), New York; given to the Yale University Art Gallery in the Whitney Collection of Sporting Art, New Haven, Conn., 1932
  • Allen Guttmann, Sports and American Art from Benjamin West to Andy Warhol (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts, 2011), pl. 18, ill
  • William Innes Homer, The Paris Letters of Thomas Eakins (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009), 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), 322–24, 329, no. 206, ill
  • Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 353, fig. 1
  • Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 102, 104, fig. 98
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), genre (visual works), human figures (visual works), portraits


Signed verso "Eakins 1874"

Technical metadata and APIs


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