Thomas C. and Susan MacDowell Eakins Membership


Thomas C. and Susan MacDowell Eakins Membership


$850 is tax-deductible

MacDowell/Eakins Membership Benefits include: 

  • Invitations to Members-only events (including behind-the-scenes tours of the Mansion and grounds; special lectures; and happy hours)

  • Discounted pricing for ticketed events (excludes The Woodlands Annual Benefit)

  • Occasional exclusive after-dark access to The Woodlands

  • 4 complimentary tickets to a special event or lecture of your choice (excludes The Woodlands Annual Benefit)

  • Complimentary household membership to give to recipient of your choice

  • $200 discount on one private event rental at The Woodlands (excludes catering costs)



Become a Member

About Thomas C. Eakins (1844-1916) and Susan MacDowell Eakins (1851-1938)

Although Eakins is recognized today as one of America's foremost realist painters, his career was punctuated by controversy due to his interest in anatomy. As a child, he displayed a precocious artistic talent, which his parents encouraged him to pursue. In 1862, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and began attending anatomy lectures at Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College to further his study of the human figure. In 1866, Eakins moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. When he returned to Philadelphia, he began work as a portrait artist and taught at the Academy. In 1875, he painted The Gross Clinic, showing famed surgeon Dr. Samuel Gross (also interred at The Woodlands) presiding over surgery in a crowded amphitheater at Jefferson Medical College. Although Eakins intended the painting for a general exhibition at the 1876 Centennial Exposition, it was deemed too disturbing and was displayed instead in a less prominent location in the U.S. Army Post among surgical tools and weapons. In 1882, he became director of the Academy and introduced one of the most progressive courses of study in the country. His insistence that both male and female students study the nude human figure tested the bounds of propriety and eventually led to his forced resignation in 1886. Eakins continued painting until his death in 1916.

Susan MacDowell, Eakins' wife, was a talented artist in her own right. From 1876 to 1882, she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she began studying with Eakins. Although she continued to paint after their marriage in 1884, she devoted much of her time to facilitating her husband's career. After Eakins' death, she encouraged exhibitions of his work, striving to ensure his artistic legacy. At the same time, her own creativity was revitalized and she painted avidly during the last twenty years of her life.

Both are buried in Section C, Lot #513 of The Woodlands.

Image above: The Artist's Wife and His Dog (1884-1889) by Thomas Eakins. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art.