Eakins Imbroglio





The mayor of Philadelphia has asked that city’s Historical Commission to consider designating a renowned Thomas Eakins painting a “historic object,” a maneuver that would prevent the artwork from being moved without the commission’s approval, The Associated Press reported. Thomas Jefferson University, the owner of the 1875 canvas, “The Gross Clinic,” voted on Nov. 10 to sell the painting for $68 million to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, being built in Bentonville, Ark. The university gave Philadelphia-area museums and government institutions until Dec. 26 to match the offer. Mayor John F. Street sent his letter to the Philadelphia Historical Commission on Friday. In a statement the university assailed the proposed historical designation as an effort to “restrict the university’s control over its own property.” Officials at Jefferson, where Dr. Gross taught surgery and which has owned the painting since 1878, said they initiated the sale to raise funds for a planned campus expansion and to advance the institution’s clinical and educational mission.

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