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David R. Brigham

series: Drexel Interview

air date: 1/24/13 2:00 PM

David R. Brigham is president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States. Founded in 1805 by Charles Wilson Peale, the Academy has, since 1876, occupied a unique building by the notable Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. The Academy was the first American art academy to educate women and African American artists, and its one-time director, Thomas Eakins, broke other barriers by teaching co-educational life drawing classes. Brigham, a specialist on Peale and his family, discusses the achievements of this noted painter and scientist. He also discusses in detail Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic, often called the greatest American painting. This richly illustrated episode treats viewers to glimpses of many of the classic paintings in the Academy's collection: along with Eakins's The Gross Clinic, paintings shown and discussed include Charles Wilson Peale's The Artist in His Museum, Henry Ossawa Turner's Nicodemus, and works by Benjamin West, Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, and Winslow Homer.

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