The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Male Figures at the Site of "Swimming"]

Object Details


[Male Figures at the Site of "Swimming"]


Thomas Eakins (American, 1844 - 1916)






Albumen silver print

Object Number:



9.3 × 12.1 cm (3 11/16 × 4 13/16 in.)

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Object Description

Thomas Eakins stands slightly apart at the left, the master and teacher observing his frolicking students at Mill Creek near Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Eakins used this photograph, one of a series of studies featuring nude boys playing at a variety of outdoor sports, to develop his painting The Swimming Hole, originally titled Swimming. Seeking to associate the youths with the classical Greek ideals of physical beauty, strength, and camaraderie, he posed them in a dynamic arrangement in and out of the water, representing them as types rather than individuals. All of the young men are shown either in profile or from behind, further obscuring their individual characters and identities.

- 1984

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Experimental Photography: The Painter-Photographer (July 5, 1989 to October 7, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 5 to September 26, 1989
  • Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown), July 28 to October 7, 1990
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Thomas Eakins and "The Swimming Picture" (February 10 to September 8, 1996)
  • The Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth), February 10 to May 5, 1996
  • The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington), June 8 to September 8, 1996
Thomas Eakins (September 30, 2001 to September 15, 2002)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia), September 30, 2001 to January 6, 2002
  • Musée d'Orsay (Paris), February 3 to May 12, 2002
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), June 10 to September 15, 2002
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
In Focus: The Nude (October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008
The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (March 15, 2016 to May 7, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 15 to July 31, 2016
  • Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford), September 10 to December 11, 2016
  • Portland Museum of Art (Portland), February 13 to May 7, 2017

Corcoran Gallery of Art. A Book of Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff. (New York: Gray Press, 1978), p. 2.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 303, ill.