Born in Newport, Kentucky, Thomas Anshutz studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He continued his education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he was an assistant to the director, Thomas Eakins. In 1886 Eakins was forced to resign because of his radical teaching methods, and Anshutz succeeded him. Anshutz trained a new generation of artists including Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, Morton L. Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Arthur B. Carles, John Marin, Frederick Judd Waugh, and Charles Demuth.


Thomas Anshutz was one of the first artists to utilize photographs as preparatory studies for paintings. This stemmed from his study of body movements and gestures when composing his creations. In 1898, with his colleague, Hugh Henry Breckenridge, Anshutz opened The Darby School of Art, a summer institute for artists. Located at the intersection of Ambler Rd. and Bethlehem Pike in Fort Washington in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The school specialized in landscape painting in the Impressionist style. One of the Darby School’s first students was Daniel Garber in 1899. In 1905, Garber attended PAFA with Anshutz as his instructor.


In the summer 1897, along with the Pennsylvania Academy’s president, Anshutz took a two-and-a-half month trip down the Delaware River. He recorded the trip through his sketches and photographs which he used for future paintings. This painting shows a cluster of drab docks and commercial shipping, rather than a more romantic view of ships that might have been painted by an earlier artist.


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