Philadelphia Leaders and Broad Public Unite to Secure Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic for Philadelphia

Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to

Acquire Painting; Contributions Are Ongoing

Dec 21, 2006, 00:00 ET from The Pew Charitable Trusts

    PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Philadelphia Mayor
 John F. Street announced at a press conference today that Thomas Eakins's
 painting, The Gross Clinic, will stay in Philadelphia forever. The
 philanthropic community in Philadelphia has united with a nationwide
 grassroots effort to enable two cultural institutions here to match the $68
 million sale price of the painting.
     The Annenberg Foundation is donating $10 million toward the effort.
 H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, Joseph Neubauer and The Pew Charitable Trusts will
 each donate $3 million. In addition, the drive to secure the painting has
 resulted to date in more than 2,000 donations all over the country,
 including 30 states and the District of Columbia.
     "Eakins's iconic painting, The Gross Clinic, is by a Philadelphian,
 about Philadelphians, and set in Philadelphia," said Mayor John F. Street.
 "It belongs in Philadelphia, just as much as the Liberty Bell and our
 sports teams. We extend profound thanks to the citizens of Philadelphia who
 made it possible to keep this important piece of our cultural heritage
 right here where it belongs. What a remarkable gift in this season of
     The painting will be purchased jointly by the Pennsylvania Academy of
 the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and exhibited publicly by
 both institutions. In the near future, the masterpiece will be on view at
 the Museum where it will be seen in context with Eakins and his
 contemporaries, and it will be shown at the Academy shortly thereafter.
 Wachovia Bank has agreed to provide any necessary financing.
     "Walter Annenberg had great admiration for Thomas Eakins's work, and in
 particular, for The Gross Clinic," said Leonore Annenberg, president and
 chairman of the Annenberg Foundation and wife of the late Walter Annenberg.
 "He would have wanted the painting to stay in Philadelphia and would be so
 pleased that we are ensuring that it will be accessible to Philadelphians
 and visitors from around the world for years to come. I am thrilled to be
 able to carry out what I believe would have been his strong wishes."
     "We deeply appreciate the efforts of Senator Specter, Governor Rendell
 and Mayor Street, as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the
 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and all the donors who supported this
 project to keep The Gross Clinic in Philadelphia," said H.F. (Gerry)
 Lenfest. "This has truly been an example of civic pride and accomplishment
 for the entire community. Meanwhile, the fundraising effort continues
 apace, because we need additional financial support."
     "The grassroots campaign to keep Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic in
 Philadelphia has galvanized people across the region," said Hugh Long, CEO
 for Wachovia's MidAtlantic Banking Group. "It also demonstrates what we at
 Wachovia believe -- that Philadelphia is not the next great city -- it IS a
 great city. It's a city with a rich history, a wealth of cultural treasures
 and a legacy of medical and education innovation. But its most important
 asset is passionate leaders who care about this city and its future.
     is proud to help these leaders achieve the goal of saving a part of the
 city's heritage and ensuring that people across the nation and around the
 world see Philadelphia as the great city it is."
     The Gross Clinic is a dramatic 8' by 6' painting of Dr. Samuel D.
 Gross, distinguished surgeon and first chair of surgery at Thomas Jefferson
 University's Medical College, performing bone surgery in front of his
 students. Thomas Eakins, a Philadelphia native, who was for many years an
 instructor and a director of the Academy, painted the portrait in 1875
 after studying anatomy under Dr. Gross. The announcement in Philadelphia
 comes after Thomas Jefferson University, owner of the painting since 1878,
 agreed in early November to sell the work to the National Gallery of Art in
 Washington, D.C., and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in
 Bentonville, Arkansas, for $68 million. Local art and governmental
 institutions were offered the opportunity to match the bid within 45 days.
     Joseph Neubauer, chairman and CEO of ARAMARK Corporation, stated,
 "Treasures like The Gross Clinic are vital to the cultural fabric of the
 region. I am thrilled at the remarkable response from the community to act
 on this important endeavor in such a short period of time. This represents
 a strong commitment to building and preserving Philadelphia's arts and
     "The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, our nation's first fine
 arts institution, will be proud to be able to share this important painting
 with art lovers in Philadelphia and around the globe," said Donald R.
 Caldwell, Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
 Arts. "Thomas Eakins was a student and teacher at the Academy, so this is
 poetic justice for one of America's greatest masters."
     "A city's cultural icons are central to its identity and its
 aspirations," said Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum
 of Art. "If the city of Amsterdam were faced with the potential loss of
 Rembrandt's The Night Watch, that community too would rally. Like The Night
 Watch, The Gross Clinic possesses a powerful national significance rooted
 in its home city. Now that it will take its place in the galleries of the
 Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy, both of which provide such a profound
 context, it will become an extraordinary pilgrimage destination -- the
 capstone of Eakins' achievement telling its remarkable story of greatness
 in Philadelphia, past, present and future."
     "We have proven to the world that we are a 'comeback city' that will
 rise to every occasion," said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The
 Pew Charitable Trusts. "Our region values its arts and heritage and takes
 pride in being excellent stewards of these works. The Pew Charitable Trusts
 commends Mayor Street, Wachovia Bank, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
 Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art for their leadership. We thank the
 broad array of donors who have contributed to this remarkable effort, and
 we are deeply honored to be a part of this extraordinary civic
 collaboration to keep the painting here in Philadelphia, where it belongs."
     To view a fact sheet of The Gross Clinic, please go to:
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SOURCE The Pew Charitable Trusts