The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 24, 2018

The Biglin Brothers Turning the Stake, 1873

oil on canvas, Framed: 117 x 167 x 6.5 cm (46 1/16 x 65 11/16 x 2 1/2 in.); Unframed: 101.3 x 151.4 cm (39 7/8 x 59 9/16 in.). Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection 1984.1927

Eakins's painting celebrates athletic teamwork while commemorating an actual event, a famous rowing race that took place on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia during May 1872. Throngs of spectators line the riverbank and watch as Barney and John Biglin negotiate the tricky turn around a stake marking the halfway point in the contest. Their competitors, seen in the middle distance at the right, lag behind. The Biglin brothers won the race, cementing their status as the most celebrated oarsmen of the era.
Trained in the United States and France, Eakins spent almost his entire artistic career in his hometown of Philadelphia. He is renowned for the unsentimental realism in his paintings, whose compositions he developed through painstakingly prepared figure and perspective drawings.

signed lower left: EAKINS 73.

Long Branch, NJ, unknown location (Summer, 1878) as Biglen Brothers turning the Stake-boat; see Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (Washington, D.C, 1996).
Boston, Charitable Mechanics Association, 13th Exhibition (2 September-2 November 1878) as Turning the Stake; see Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (Washington, D.C, 1996).
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Society of Artists, 2nd Annual Exhibition (1 November-6 December 1880) as Turning the Stake, A pair oared Race; see Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (Washington, D.C, 1996).
St. Louis, Art Hall, 21st St. Louis Fair, (3-8 October 1881) as Turning the Stake-boat; see Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (Washington, D.C, 1996).
Denver, National Mining and Industrial Exposition, 1st Annual Exposition (1 August-30 September 1882) as Biglen Brothers turning the Stake-boat; see Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (Washington, D.C, 1996).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Loan Exhibition of the Works of Thomas Eakins (5 November-3 December 1917), illus. cat. no. 3, pl. 3 as The Biglin Brothers Turning the Stake-Boat.
Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late Thomas Eakins (23 December 1917-13 January 1918), illus. cat. no. 33, listed p. 86.
Philadelphia, Department of Fine Arts, Paintings, Sculpture, and Prints in the Department of Fine Arts Sesqui-centennial International Exposition (1926), listed cat. no. 360, p. 70.
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by Thomas Eakins, Albert P. Ryder, and J. Alden Weir (15 December 1927-23 January 1928)
Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Work of Thomas Eakins (March 1930)
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Sixth Loan Exhibition: Winslow Homer, Albert P. Ryder, Thomas Eakins (May, 1930), illus. cat. no. 94, listed p. 29.
Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, Olympic Competition and Exhibition of Art (30 July 30-31 August 1932), listed cat. no. 753, p. 51.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, American Genre: The Social Scene in Paintings and Prints (26 March-29 April 1935) cat. no. 28, listed p. 16, not illus.
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition of The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Official Exhibit of the Great Lakes Exposition (26 June-4 October 1936), listed cat. no. 355, p. 132 as Turning Stake Boat, or Biglin Brothers Turning Stake Boat.
Baltimore, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins 1844-1916: A Retrospective Exhibition of His Paintings (1 December 1936-1 January 1937), illus. cat. no. 5.
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, American Painting from 1860 Until Today (23 June-4 October 1937), illus. cat. no. 56, pl. 9, listed p. 20 as Turning Stake Boat.
Detroit, Detroit Institute of Art, Eighteenth Annual Exhibition of American Art (2 April-3 May 1937) cat. no. 1, listed p. 8, not illus.
New York, National Academy of Design, The Special World's Fair Exhibition (8 May-25 July 1939), listed cat. no.213.
San Francisco, The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Seven Centuries of Painting: A Loan Exhibition of Old and Modern Masters (29 December 1939 - 28 January 1940), illus. cat. no. L-153, listed p. 50.
Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Five Centuries of Marine Painting (6 March-5 April 1942), listed no. 117, pp. 37-38, not illus.
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins Centennial Exhibitions (8 April-14 May, 1944), illus. cat. no. 17, p. 123, listed p. 134.
New York, M. Knoedler & Company, A Loan Exhibition of the Works of Thomas Eakins 1844-1944, Commemorating the Centennial of His Birth (3 June-31 July 1944) illus. cat. no. 6.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Sport in American Art (10 October-10 December 1944), listed cat. no. 26, p.11, not illus.
Pittsburgh, Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute, Thomas Eakins: Centennial Exhibition 1844-1944 (26 April-1 June 1945), illus. cat. no. 110.
London, The Tate Gallery, American Painting: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day (June - July 1946), illus. cat. no. 70, listed p. 12.
Saginaw Museum, Michigan, (2-28 November 1948), Thomas Eakins Centennial, no catalogue can be found for this show.
New York, NY, The Century Association, Exhibition of Paintings by Thomas Eakins (10 January-18 February 1951) no catalogue can be found for this show.
Akron, OH, Akron Art Institute, Masterpiece Series ( 30 December 1952-1 February 1953) no catalogue.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Landmarks in American Art, 1670-1950 (26 February-28 March 1953), illus. cat. no. 25, pl. 25 as The Biglen Brothers Turning the Stake.
Syracuse, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, 125 Years of American Art (16 September-11 October 1953), illus. cat . no. no. 18 as Turning the Stake Boat.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 150th Anniversary Exhibition (15 January-13 March 1955); listed p. 65, cat. no. 74, not illus.
Handbook: Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, 1958), illus. no. 541.
Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Insitutetion, Thomas Eakins: A Retrospective Exhibition (8 October-12 November 1961); traveled to Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago (1 December 1961-7 January 1962); to Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art (1 February-18 March 1962), illus. cat. no. 9, p. 43.
New York, Whitney Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins: Retrospective Exhibition (22 September-21 November 1970), illus. cat. no. 10, p. 37, listed p. 69.
Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Heritage and Horizon: American Painting 1776-1976 (6 March- 11 April 1976); traveled to Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts (5 May-13 June 1976); to Toledo, The Toledo Museum of Art (4 July-15 August 1976); to Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art (8 September-10 October 1976), illus. cat. no. 22, illus.
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins Exhibition: Artist of Philadelphia (29 May-1 August 1982); traveled to Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (22 September-28 November 1982), illus. cat. no. 18, p. 22, illus.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston A New World: Masterpieces of American Paintings 1760-1910 (7 September-13 November 1983); traveled to Washington, DC, Corcoran Gallery of American Art (7 December 1983-12 February 1984); to Paris, Grand Palais (16 March-11 June 1984) illus. cat. no. 58, p. 118, pp. 267-268, illus. p. 267.
Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, Thomas Eakins: The Rowing Pictures (23 June-29 September 1996); traveled to New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery (11 October 1996-14 January 1997); to Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art (19 February-15 May 1997), illus. fig. no. 26, p. 51, listed p. 137.
Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Thomas Eakins: American Realist, (Oct. 4, 2001 - Jan. 6, 2002); Musee d'Orsay, Paris (Feb. 5 - May 12, 2002); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 18 - September 15, 2002) illus. pl. 6, p. 45, pp. 27-40, 390-391.
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Collects American Art: Cleveland in the Gilded Age (23 February-18 May) no catalogue; compliment to traveling exhibition, The Gilded Age: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Cleveland, Ohio: The Cleveland Museum of Art; February 15 - May 16, 2004. "Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement". Not in exh. cat.
The Cleveland Museum of Art (06/21/2005 - 09/11/2005); "CMA Highlights"
Los Angeles County Musuem of Art (7/25/2010 - 10/23/2010): "Manly Pursuits: The Sporting Images of Thomas Eakins"

1916-1927 Susan MacDowell Eakins [1851-1938], Philadelphia, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art1
1927- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

Footnotes

1Ownership of Eakins' unsold works passed to his wife, Susan Macdowell Eakins, upon his death in 1916.

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