William Merritt Chase
American Impressionist

1849 - 1916

Self Portrait of William Merritt Chase

William Merritt Chase (November 1, 1849 - October 25, 1916) was an American painter known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher.

He was born in Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, to the family of a local merchant. Chase's father moved the family to Indianapolis in 1861 and employed his son as a salesman in the family business. Chase showed an early interest in art, and studied under local, self-taught artists Barton S. Hays and Jacob Cox.

After a brief stint in the Navy, Chase's teachers urged him to travel to New York to further his artistic training. He arrived in New York in 1869, met and studied with Joseph Oriel Eaton for a short time, then enrolled in the National Academy of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth, a student of the famous French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.

In 1870 declining family fortunes forced Chase to leave New York for St. Louis, Missouri, where his family was then based. While he worked to help support his family he became active in the St. Louis art community, winning prizes for his paintings at a local exhibition. He also exhibited his first painting at the National Academy in 1871. Chase's talent elicited the interest of wealthy St. Louis collectors who arranged for him to visit Europe for two years, in exchange for paintings and Chase's help in securing European art for their collections.

In Europe Chase settled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, a long-standing center of art training that was attracting increasing numbers of Americans. He studied under Alexander Von Wagner and Karl von Piloty, and befriended American artists Walter Shirlaw and Frank Duveneck. In Munich, Chase employed his rapidly burgeoning talent most often in figurative works that he painted in the loosely-brushed style popular with his instructors. One of these, a portrait titled "Keying Up" - The Court Jester (now in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) won a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and gained Chase his first fame.

Keying Up - The Court Jester

The King's Jester

Chase traveled to Venice, Italy in 1877 with Duveneck and John Henry Twachtman before returning to the United States in the summer of 1878, a highly skilled artist representing the new wave of European-educated American talent. Home in America, he exhibited his painting Ready for the Ride (collection of the Union League Club) with the newly-formed Society of American Artists in 1878. He also opened a studio in New York in the Tenth Street Studio Building, home to many of the important painters of the day. He was a member of the Tilers, a group of artists and authors, among whom were some of his notable friends: Winslow Homer, Arthur Quartley and Augustus Saint Gaudens.

Venice: 1877

Venetian Balcony

Venice View of the Navy Arsenal

Gondolas Along a Venetian Canal

A Fish Market in Venice

After the Rain

Florentine Villa

Olive Trees in Florence

The Mandolin Player

Spanish Village

Sunny Spain


Dancing Girl

The Tamborine Girl

Gypsy Swell
A Spanish Gypsy

Woman with a Basket

Chase cultivated multiple personnae: sophisticated cosmopolitan, devoted family man, and esteemed teacher. Chase married Alice Gerson in 1886 and together they raised eight children during Chase's most energetic artistic period. His eldest daughters, Alice Dieudonnee Chase and Dorothy Bremond Chase, often modeled for their father.

In New York City, however, Chase became known for a flamboyance that he flaunted in his dress, his manners, and most of all in his studio. At Tenth Street, Chase had moved into Albert Bierstadt's old studio and had decorated it as an extension of his own art. Chase filled the studio with lavish furniture, decorative objects, stuffed birds, oriental carpets, and exotic musical instruments. The studio served as a focal point for the sophisticated and fashionable members of the New York City art world of the late 19th century. By 1895 the cost of maintaining the studio, in addition to his other residences, forced Chase to close it and auction the contents.

William Merritt Chase's Studio

Interior of the Artist's Studio
The Tenth Street Studio

In the Studio: ca 1881

In the Studio: ca 1892

In the Studio


Did You Speak To Me

In the Studio

Studio Interior

The Inner Studio
Tenth Street

A Corner of My Syudio

Mrs. William Merritt Chase (Alice Gerson)

Alice Gerson

Mother and Child
The First Portrait

Mrs. Chase and Cosy

A Spanish Girl
Portrait of Mrs. Chase in Spanish Dress

A Study
The Artist's Wife

Portrait of Mrs. Chase with a Shawl

Portrait of Mrs. William Merritt Chase

Two Daughters Often Modeled for their Father

My Daughter Alice

My Daughter Alice Dieudonne Chase

My Daughter Alice Dieudonne Chase

My Little Daughter Dorothy

Mrs. Chase and Child

Dorothy and Her Sister

Portrait of Dorothy


Dorothy in the Mirror

Chase worked in all media. He was most fluent in oil painting and pastel, but also created watercolor paintings and etchings. He is perhaps best known for his portraits, his sitters including some of the most important men and women of his time in addition to his own family. Chase often painted his wife Alice and their children, sometimes in individual portraits, and other times in scenes of domestic tranquility: at breakfast in their backyard, or relaxing at their summer home on Long Island, the children playing on the floor or among the sand dunes of Shinnecock.

Paintings, Etchings, and Portraits

Portrait of a Gentleman

Portrait of a Lady

Portrait of a Lady in a White Dress
Miss Edith Newbold

Portrait of a Lady in Pink

Portrait of a Lady with a Rose

Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman with a Black Bonnet

Portrait of a Woman
The White Dress

Portrait of a Young Woman

Portrait of Clara Stephens
Wearing a Hat with an Orange Ribbon

Portrait of Harriet Hubbard Ayers

Portrait of Miss Dora Wheeler

Portrait of Miss Frances

Memories: 1885

A Lady in Brown

A Portrait Study

A Young Man

Alice Dieudonne Chase
Shinnecock Hills

Alice in the Shinnecock Studio

Bobbie: A Portrait Sketch

Child with Prints

Afternoon in the Park

At the Window

Back of a Nude

Girl in a Japanese Kimono

Girl in White
Portrait of Irene Dimock

Good Friends

Elsie Leslie Lyde
As Little Lord Fauntleroy


At Play

Children Playing Parlor Croquet

Ring Toss

Hide and Seek

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Japanese Print ca 1888

Lady in Black
Mrs. Leslie Cotton

Lady with a Rose

A Study In Curves

End of the Season

Ordering Lunch by the Seaside

Interior Oak Manor

Interior of the Baptistry at Saint Mark's

Young Woman at a Table

Making Her Toilet

Man with a Bandana


Miss L
Isabella Lathrop

Miss Mary Margaret Sweeny

Modern Magdalen

Mrs. Meigs At The Piano Organ

Ms Helen Dixon

Ready for a Walk
Beatrice Clough Bachmann

Ready for a Ride


Canal Scene


Seated Figure

Study in Pink
Portrait of Mrs. Robert P. McDougal

The Antiquary Shop

The Golden Lady

The Japanese Book

The Miror

The Model

The Moorish Warrior

The Red Gown

The Red Roofs of Harlem
A Street in Holland

The Red Sash

The Song

The White Rose
Miss Jessup

Study of a Young Girl
At Her Ease

Who Rang?

When One is Old
The Old Cottager

Lady in Green

Woman in Kimono Holding a Japanese Fan

Woman on a Dock

Young Girl

Young Girl on an Ocean Steamer

Young Girl with Flowers

Young Woman Before a Mirror

Portrait of Louis Betts

The Black Kimono

The Blue Kimono

A Friendly Call

Child on a Garden Walk

Peonies: ca 1887

Sheds and Schooner Gloucester

The Big Oleander

Unexpected Intrusion

The Garden Wall

The Moroccan Girl

The Birthday Party
Helen Velasquez Chase

The Pet Canary

Shinnecock Hills on Eastern Long Island

The Bayberry Bush
Chase Homestead Shinnecock

Shinnecock Hills: 1895

Shinnecock Hills from Canoe Place: Long Island

Shinnecock Landscape

Shinnecock Landscape

A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay

Afternoon by the Sea
Gravesend Bay

Along the Path at Shinnecock

At the Boat Landing

At the Seaside

Beach Scene Morning at Canoe Place

For the Little One
Hall at Shinnecock

Hall At Shinnecock

Hunting Game in Shinnecock Hills

Idle Hours

Landscape of a Shinnecock Vale

Landscape at Shinnecock Hills

Summertime ca 1886

Sunny Afternoon Shinnecock Hills

Swollen Stream at Shinnecock ca 1895

Near Bay Ridge

Near the Beach Shinnecock


The Potato Patch
Garden at Shinnecock

Coastal View

Over the Hills and Far Away

Long Island Landscape after a Rain Shower

New York City Once Looked Like This
Brooklyn, Long Island, and Even Central Park

Harbor Scene Brooklyn Docks

The Consultation

The East River

Boat House: Prospect Park

A Bit of the Terrace
Early Morning Stroll

Mrs. Chase in Prospect Park

Prospect Park: 1886

Prospect Park
Croquet Lawn

Prospect Park: Brooklyn

Terrace Prospect Park

Brooklyn Landscape

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn Navy Yard

A Park in Brooklyn: 1887

The Open Air Breakfast
The Backyard Breakfast Out of Doors

Wash Day
A Back Yark Reminiscence of Brooklyn

Tompkins Park: Brooklyn

Landscape Near Coney Island

Park Bench
An Idle Hour in Central Park

On the Lake in Central Park

On the Lake in Central Park

Lilliputian Boat-Lake

The Commons: Central Park

The Park

In the Park by a Path

The Cloisters

Still Life Paintings


aka Roses

The Big Brass Bowl

Still Life With Watermelon

Still Life Brass and Glass

The Old Book

Still Life with Vegetable

Source: Art Renewal Center

This page is the work of Senex Magister

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