Restoration of Eakins' "Gross Clinic" deemed a successful operation

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As a young conservator, fresh from graduate school, Mark S. Tucker found himself facing a humbling task.

In 1980, he joined the conservation department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and was thrown into preparations for the large retrospective of Thomas Eakins' work the museum would be mounting in 1982.

That's when he first encountered Eakins' 1875 masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, owned at the time by Jefferson Medical College.

"I did a very, very minor treatment on it," Tucker said the other day. "It had surface grime on it and I removed that. So I had my nose up close to the painting at a very early point."

Even then, he sensed that a more extensive treatment might someday be warranted. That day has come....

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