PHILADELPHIA - Kevin Bacon has joined a group fighting to keep Thomas Eakins' 1875 masterpiece, "The Gross Clinic," in its hometown.
The Committee to Keep Eakins' Masterpiece in Philadelphia will work to raise awareness about the social and artistic importance of the work, which was painted in Philadelphia and hangs in Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Bacon, 48, is a Philadelphia native. He has starred in films including "Mystic River," "Apollo 13" and "Footloose."
"This masterpiece and this artist are so intertwined and connected to this city that it should and must remain where it was created," Bacon said in a statement released Monday by the group.
The committee was formed after Jefferson announced plans to sell "The Gross Clinic" for $68 million to a partnership of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and a museum in Arkansas founded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.
The painting, meant to show Philadelphia's scientific and artistic achievements, depicts a surgeon teaching students to operate on a patient's thigh. Eakins was born in Philadelphia and lived much of his life in the city.
A local campaign is also under way to match the $68 million offer and keep the painting in Philadelphia.