The Chess Players

Artist: Thomas Eakins (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1844–1916 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Date: 1876

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 11 3/4 x 16 3/4 in. (29.8 x 42.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of the artist, 1881

Accession Number: 81.14


This small composition on wood shows the artist's father, Benjamin Eakins (1818–1899), watching a chess game between his friends Bertrand Gardel (ca. 1808–1885), a French teacher, on the left, and George W. Holmes (ca. 1812–1895), a painter and art teacher, on the right. Thomas Eakins inscribed the painting in Latin on the drawer of the central table: "painted by the son of Benjamin Eakins 76." The artist's father is also the subject of The Writing Master (17.173). The setting for this work has been identified as the parlor of Eakins' home at 1729 Mount Vernon Street in Philadelphia. Related drawings are known. This work was first exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and was favorably received.