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There Ain’t No Starving Artists In The Afterlife: JEFF SELLS EAKINS PAINTING TO WAL-MART FOR $68 MILLION CLAMS; Natives Grow Restless And Unimpressed, Say Deal Shoulda Been Done With Legal Tender, Not Shellfish

At least twice in the 1970s and 1980s, deep-pocketed buyers came knocking on the doors of Thomas Jefferson University seeking to purchase Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic.eakinsgross.jpg

On both occasions, administrators consulted the alumni organization – which gave the world-renowned painting to the medical school in 1878 – about what to do.

And in both cases, the alumni said no to millions of dollars, according to several members of the university community. Absolutely not. No sale.

The painting, a monumental portrayal of renowned Jefferson surgeon Samuel D. Gross demonstrating a bloody leg operation, is considered inextricably bound to the university and to Philadelphia, where it was created.

Old school ties were not enough in 2006, however. University trustees announced Friday that they had agreed to sell the painting for $68 million. The news, said David Paskin, senior associate dean at the university, hit Jefferson “like a nuclear blast.”

Yesterday, students, faculty members and alumni were still reeling from the shock, which caught everyone off guard, angering not a few by its seeming stealth.

Local institutions have until Dec. 26 – 45 days from last Friday – to match the offer, a joint bid by an unbuilt Arkansas museum backed by Wal-Mart heirs and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Failure to match means the 8-by-61/2-foot canvas will be removed from its place in Alumni Hall on Locust Street and shipped first to Washington, then to Bentonville, Ark., in 2009.

INQUIRER: Please remember that A-R-T is only one letter away from F-A-R-T
NO ORDINARY PRINCESS: Wal-Mart Is E-V-I-L
WALMART, THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE: Exactly How And Why Wal-Mart Is Evil, With Extensive Documentation Of Their Dark Arts

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2 Responses to “There Ain’t No Starving Artists In The Afterlife: JEFF SELLS EAKINS PAINTING TO WAL-MART FOR $68 MILLION CLAMS; Natives Grow Restless And Unimpressed, Say Deal Shoulda Been Done With Legal Tender, Not Shellfish”

  1. Phawker » Blog Archive » NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t Says:

    […] RADIO TIMES WITH MARTY MOSS-COANE: One Of Phawker’s Most Esteemed And Possibly Newest Reader PREVIOUSLY ON PHAWKER: There Ainít No Starving Artists In The Afterlife; JEFF SELLS EAKINS PAINTING TO WAL-MART FOR $68 MILLION CLAMS; Natives Grow Restless And Unimpressed, Say Deal Shoulda Been Done With Legal Tender, Not Shellfish […]

  2. Phawker » Blog Archive » IMMODEST PROPOSAL: Get Your Wallet Out, Bitches! Says:

    […] Officials acknowledge that matching the record-setting sum for the lifelong Philadelphian’s 1875 painting, “The Gross Clinic,” will be a challenge. However, they said they have to believe that they can prevent the departure of an irreplaceable part of the city’s cultural history. […]

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