Philadelphia med school sells second Eakins for $20m

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Less than four months after Philadelphians thwarted its bid to buy "The Gross Clinic," an 1875 masterpiece by Thomas Eakins, an Arkansas museum founded by the Wal-Mart heiress Alice L. Walton has quietly purchased another much-loved Eakins painting from the Philadelphia medical school that sold the first.

The canvas, the 1874 “Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand,” is destined for the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, now under construction in Bentonville, Ark....

Last fall Crystal Bridges and the National Gallery of Art negotiated a deal jointly to buy "The Gross Clinic" from Thomas Jefferson [University] for a stunning $68 million. Mindful of Eakins’s resonance as a native son of Philadelphia, the university, announcing the sale, gave local institutions 45 days to match the offer. The prospect of the painting’s departure set off a passionate city-wide fund-raising campaign by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to keep the painting in the city.

This time Thomas Jefferson alerted those institutions to the deal in advance.

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