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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

EAKINS INSULT WITH UGLY IRONY! an OPEN LETTER to Blick's managers of their newest Philadelphia store 

Thomas Eakins is without a doubt one of the finest artists in Philadelphia history. His studio was above what is now VALUE PLUS on Chestnut between 13th and Broad. Cross the street when you're there and LOOK UP, because there's a spectacle of beautiful stone carvings you might have been missing. In that studio he painted some of his most famous paintings.

An anonymous admirer of Eakins commissioned a brass plaque to let the world know about the studio, and had it installed on the door frame on the street below. My old friend Jim McCormick showed me that plaque, and pointed to the DAZZLING facade for me back in the 80's when I moved here. Jim killed himself soon after, and I've been showing the plaque and pointing to the studio for others ever since.

According to what folks at VALUE PLUS told me some years back there has not been a staircase leading up to Eakins's old studio for 40 or 50 years now. No staircase. Studio is still there, home to spiders and ghosts of nude models, quiet for half a century, the Northern Light giving and taking across where the easels were and paints and maybe a sandwich and beer. Did Eakins ever nap up there? OF COURSE HE DID! Well, I don't know for sure, but I assume he did. Nap and make love, I'm sure MUCH went on up there, there where the staircase to it has not existed for more than I've been alive.

My point to this post is that several months ago I was STUNNED when walking past the spot to find that the plaque was GONE! MISSING! The holes where the screws had held it in place still in the metal. It's gone. And I told Frank Sherlock, and it was a shock to us both (this plaque and studio appears in our Philadelphia walk poems).

BUT! THE! WORST! THING! Is that several months later we now discover that the business who REMOVED the plaque was none other than a brand new ART SUPPLY STORE! What KIND OF MADNESS!? WHAT DARK IRONY IS THIS?! This city has got to understand and understand FAST the need to hold onto its treasure! THESE ART SUPPLY bastards are selling PAINT and CANVAS a few floors beneath THOMAS EAKINS'S STUDIO and they REMOVED the one and ONLY marker for the world to know this fact!

If you look at this photograph from BLICK, proudly showing their new Philadelphia location, you can see, if you look at the white vehicle reflected on the glass of the door, JUST above that reflection, and to the left, NOTICE a small, faint rectangular discoloration on the metal door frame. THAT is the plaque's only remains now.

All that remains of our knowledge of the studio above is a faint discoloration from where a plaque had been. If you didn't see the plaque before it became a mere faint mark, then you are growing fainter into history.

THIS IS A DEMAND FROM A CITIZEN OF PHILADELPHIA TO THE SO-CALLED ARTISTS AT BLICK ON CHESTNUT STREET TO PUT THAT PLAQUE BACK WHERE YOU FOUND IT!

HOW DARE YOU MOVE TO PHILADELPHIA WITH YOUR CORPORATE LOGO HOVERING OVER THE DOOR AND REMOVE THE NAME OF A GREAT PHILADELPHIA ARTIST WHO PAINTED THERE!

PUT IT BACK!

I'M TIRED OF THIS KIND OF BULLSHIT!

CAConrad

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