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Willy-Nilly in Philly: Museum Hosts Lovefest for 1,800 of Eakins’ Close Friends

Why is This Tall Woman Clapping?

Because she’s Anne d’Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, congratulating a joyous crowd of donors to the fundraising campaign to keep the $68-million Thomas Eakins masterpiece, “The Gross Clinic,” in Philadelphia. The museum invited some 3,000 Eakins contributors to a celebratory reception in its grand lobby Saturday evening. About 1,800 said they’d be coming. From the looks of the packed reception (which I attended) it appears that most did.

Some $37 million has now been raised (including $7 million, announced last week, from Athena and Nicholas Karabots of Fort Washington, Pa.). D’Harnoncourt announced that contributions have come from almost every state in the nation: “We are now waiting for Idaho, Nebraska and North Dakota.” The fundraising deadline is Jan. 31, after which the Philadelphia Museum and its joint purchaser, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, will draw upon a loan offered by Wachovia Bank for the rest.

COMING TOMORROW: Future plans for “Gross Clinic.” Plus, a little gossip from Governor Rendell, shared among 1,800 friends.

Also this week: More important art news from the City of Brotherly Love (and a certain suburb).

an ArtsJournal blog