Although Thomas Eakins received little notice in his lifetime, he has come to be considered the greatest realist in the history of American art. A native of Philadelphia, he returned to his home after spending time studying and painting in Europe. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1876-1886, when he was forced to resign after a dispute caused by his insistence that students of both sexes be allowed to draw from nude models. He had little commercial success and generally was ignored by the art world. Eakins was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1902, which was near the end of his career.