Eakins Starting out After Rail
11x14 Matted Print

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About This Item

Starting Out After Rail, 1874
Thomas Eakins, American, 1844–1916
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund, 1935
Accession number: 35.1953

Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins had many and varied interests, and they all found their way into his pictures. He was an avid outdoorsman, and especially in the 1870s, when his career was just beginning, he painted a number of pictures of friends and family members hunting, rowing, racing sailboats or, as here, setting out in pursuit of rail, small game birds that were plentiful in the marshes along the Delaware River.

Eakins clearly thought highly of this image, for he sent the oil to Gérôme in Paris to gauge his progress. The watercolor was the first picture he submitted to the American Watercolor Society's annual shows. Although praised for its originality, the watercolor did not sell; Eakins reportedly later traded it for a boat.

This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003)

Matted to a standard 11" x 14" format (image size may vary).