Pennsylvania academy of the fine arts

DEFINITION

Founded in 1805 by Charles Willson Peale, the Academy is the oldest art academy in the United States, and called "the foremost 'picture gallery' in Philadelphia, it was the city's public gallery.??? (Carter 23) The original location was Tenth and Chestnut Streets, and in 1845, a fire occurred at the Academy. In order to save one of its most famous early paintings, ???Death on a Pale Horse??? by Benjamin West, firemen cut the canvas out of its frame and carried it to safety. By the 1870s, classes at the Academy had become so popular that they were suspended for six years while a new building was constructed at 118 North Broad Street, the corner of Broad and Cherry Streets. Architects were Frank Furness and George Hewitt, and the opening of the new building occurred in 1876. At that time Christian Schussele was the primary instructor, a position he held briefly because of ill health. He was replaced by Thomas Eakins, who became controversial and was removed because of his insistence that women students be allowed in classes with nude models, a violation of tradition. Other famous Academy artist teachers are Thomas Sully, Thomas Anshutz, William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri and Charles Sheeler. In the late 20th century, the campus has two buildings: the Frank Furness-designed historic landmark building and a late 20th-century structure, the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building. Sources: 'Pennsylvania Academy Receives 2005 National Medal of Arts', "Antiques and Arts Weekly", November 25, 2005; Alice Carter, ???Cecilia Beaux???. (LPD)

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