Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture Series with Kathleen A. Foster

  • Kathleen A. Foster is The Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Senior Curator of American Art and Director of the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has published work on topics in American art from the late-eighteenth-century to the present, with a particular emphasis on the work of Thomas Eakins, including the prize-winning Thomas Eakins Rediscovered and the recent An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing The Gross Clinic Anew. Other publication and exhibition projects include studies of Edwin Austin Abbey, Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Chambers, Daniel Garber, John La Farge, Alfred Jacob Miller, and Andrew Wyeth.

    In her talk, Foster will draw on her recent study of Winslow Homer's famous painting of 1884, The Life Line. A timeless romance of rescue, the picture also incorporated themes of new technology and modern heroism. Exploring the sources of this painting in art history and popular culture, and—thanks to conservation science—analyzing the key changes Homer made at the last minute, Foster unpacks the meaning of this image and its enduring appeal.