Showing posts with label 1876 Centennial Exposition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1876 Centennial Exposition. Show all posts

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 6

Washington, Nov. 6, 1875.

Dear Doctor

I spoke to you some time ago about making a selection of at least a single series of skulls, to represent the various tribes of aborigines of North America, for exhibition at the Centennial, either by the Army Medical Museum or by the National Museum.

I would like to hear from you to know whether you will make this display; as I consider it extremely important that the very large ethnological collection to be exhibited on that occasion, should be supplemented by the series in question.

We will gladly receive the specimens here, + be responsible for their safe return, + arrange to exhibit them under suitable circumstances, of course as the property of the Army Medical Museum.

Any other method will suit us equally well, only we hope the exhibition will be made. We are now unpacking a collection of about 300 crania from the vicinity of Santa Barbara + the adjacent islands – a most magnificent series of specimens, + we would be glad to have you come over + look at them + see whether you wish them turned over to the Army Medical Museum, + whether you have space for their accommodation. Many more are yet due.

Yours truly,
Spencer F Baird

Dr. Otis,
Army Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More on Eakin's Gross Clinic

The NY Times ran a good article on what the restored painting and its exhibit are like -

Deft Surgery for a Painting Under the Scalpel
Published: July 29, 2010
An exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art shows Thomas Eakins’s “Gross Clinic,” an 1875 masterpiece that has recently been restored.

In the article, Rosenberg discusses the paintings history especially the initial public hanging of it:

The current show’s first gallery contains photographs and ephemera from the Centennial Exhibition, a world’s fair that included the first historical survey of American art. Much of this material is filler. (Do we really need to see the shareholders’ certificate or Eakins’s exhibitor’s pass?) More to the point are the interior shots of the exhibition sites, which show how “The Gross Clinic” made its debut.

The selection committee found the painting too visceral for the main art show, a stuffy, salon-style affair in Memorial Hall, but with help from Dr. Gross, Eakins was able to display it in a model Army-post hospital elsewhere on the fairgrounds. Photographs show “The Gross Clinic” prominently featured at the end of a long row of beds, framed by dark curtains.

Here's a photograph of that "model Army-post hospital" which featured exhibits on military medicine, and was partially curated by Dr. J.J. Woodward.

001 Hospital front view
1876 Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, PA, Army Medical Department Exhibit - 001 Hospital front view

005 Hospital ward 1 from southern end
1876 Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, PA, Army Medical Department Exhibit - 005 Hospital ward 1 from southern end. [Note the beds with mosquito netting, the enlargements of photomicrographs on the side walls and especially The Gross Clinic painting by Thomas Eakins on the far wall.