Friday, February 6, 2015

Bertrand Gardel Monument – Mt Vernon Cemetery 3499 W Lehigh Ave Philadelphia

This monument referenced to French born Philadelphia teacher and patron of the arts was begun for Gardel’s wife.

1876 - Public Domain

It was by illustration above as an object of interest for tourists to visit in 1876 – the Centennial – as from a tourist guide book of that day. It cost $30,000 per that guidebook.

Thomas Eakins painted Gardel in “The Chess Players” – below – Gardel on the left - presently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

The Chess Players - 1876 - Thomas Eakins
Wikipedia Commons

In 1876 Eakins painted an oil on wood panel work called “The Chess Players”. Situated in a typical upper class Victorian parlor, the painting shows three men, an older man on the left with the white pieces, a younger man on the right with the black, and an elderly man in the middle watching the progress of the game. Eakins chose his subjects well for this work. The man in the middle is his father, Benjamin Eakins, the man on the right playing the black pieces is a fellow artist, George Holmes. Playing the black pieces, permanently crouched over the board, is Patron of the Arts Bertrand Gardel, the man whose money, support and encouragement gave to Eakins was now fulfilled. Eakins thanked Gardel the best way he knew how - by forever immortalized him in what is considered a classic painting.

Bertrand Gardel eventually retired from his Professorship, and lived until in Philadelphia until his death in December 1883. He was buried with his wife at the massive pyramid monument he created for her in Philadelphia’s Mount Vernon Cemetery…


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