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William Merritt Chase 
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
Metropolitan Museum 
Oil on canvas
158.8 x 105.1 cm (62 1/2 x 41 3/8 in.)
Gift of the Pupils of Mr. Chase, 1905 (05.33)
inscribed  [at upper right, probably by Chase]:  Copyright by John S. Sargent 1902 
 Jpg:The Met

Sampling of works by Chase 

Portrait of William Gurley Munson  
Indianapolis Museum of Art  
Oil on canvas 

In the Studio  
The Brooklyn Museum 
Oil on canvas 

The Tenth Street Studio  
Henry E. Huntington Art Collections & Botanical Gardens 
Oil on canvas 

The End of the Season  
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Mass 
Pastel on paper 

Early Morning Stroll 
Private collection 
Oil on canvas 

A Tambourine Player  
c. 1886 
Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey 
Oil on canvas  
65 x 30 in.  

Hide and Seek 
Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. 
Oil on canvas 


At the Seaside 
c 1892 
Metropolitan Museum, NY 
Oil on canvas 
20 x 34 in. (50.8 x 86.4 cm) 
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot 

The Lone Fisherman  
Hood Museum of Art, New Hampshire 
Oil on panel 
38.1 x 30.1 cm 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Harrison 

A Friendly Call 
National Gallery of Art, D.C. 
Oil on canvas 
76.5 x 122.5 cm (30 1/8 x 481/4 in.)  
Chester Dale Collection 

Portrait of a Lady in Black 
c. 1895 
Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan 
Oil on canvas 
182.9 x 91.4 cm (6 x 3 ft.) 
Gift of Henry Munroe Campbell; 43.486  

Did You Speak to Me 
Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio 
Oil on canvas 
96.52 x 109.22 cm. (38 X 43 in.)  
Signed, lower left  
Museum purchase, 921-0-102  

Portrait of Fra Dana  
University of Montana Museum of Fine Arts 
Oil on Canvas 
19 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches 
The Fra Dana Collection 


Portrait of Kate Freeman Clark 
Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery 
Oil on canvas 

Marianne Heyward Taylor  
Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina 
Oil on canvas 
Gift of Mr. J. Henry Fair - 1992.12.2 

Mrs Chase and Cosy 
No date 
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska 
Oil on canvas 
55 1/4 by 261/4 in. 
F. M. Hall Collection 1933.H-16  

Woman in White 
Indianapolis Museum of Art 
Oil on canvas 

Still Life with Fish and Plate 

William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) 
American Painter
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William Merritt Chase was an eclectic painter known for his portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. He worked in all mediums -- oils, water colors, pastels and etching. He loved teaching and was greatly influential with young artists for 36 years. Among his pupils were Georgia O'Keeffe, Joseph Stella, and Charles Sheeler. For many years he was a fixture of the New York art scene. 

John Singer Sargent first met Chase in 1881 when the latter was on a trip for Spain but first visited Paris (probably to see the Salon) where he met Sargent and Mary Cassatt. Both Cassatt and Sargent had been to Spain previously and both gave Chase suggestions. They certainly crossed paths often being members of same organizations such as the Society of American Artists and most certainly exhibited at some of the same shows. Sargent painted Chase in 1902. But the most interesting connection was when Mrs Isabella Stewart Gardner used Chases' 10th Street Studio in New York to host a party in which Sargent hired the Spanish gypsy dancer Carmencita to perform. 

Chase trained at the National Academy of Design (1869-71) in New York and at Munich's Royal Academy of Art (1872-77) where he adopted the techniques and style of that school -- characterized by rich and direct brushwork and a dark palette which had its roots to artists as Frans Hals (1580/6-1666) and Diego Velasquez (1599-1660).  

Much of his early work is of this style and he was so taken by Velasquez that he named a fifth daughter Helen Velasquez, even painting her as an infant along with his wife in different paintings in homage to the Spanish master's court pictures. He wrote from the Prado in Madrid to one of his students in New York: 

The Old Gallery of pictures is simply magnificent. [Velazquez] is the greatest painter that ever lived. How you would enjoy the pictures by him here. I am sure you would be inspired and encouraged; [Velazquez] is not like many of the great painters; he never discourages one -- but on the contrary -- makes you feel that everything is possible for one to accomplish. [1]
He would continue to do portraits in this style throughout his life (Portrait of a Lady in Black c. 1895), though in the 1880's his interest developed in the effects of light after a trip to Venice, and through the influence of a  growing group of his American contemporaries -- people like John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, and Mary Cassatt -- he lighten his pallet for landscapes and scenes and became increasingly impressionistic (The End of the Season 1885). You can also clearly see the influence of Whistler's darker work in the interior painting Hide and Seek (1888). 

From the time he returned to America after studying in Munich in 1878 he taught continually until his death on Oct. 25, 1916. In New York city he established a school of his own, after having taught for some years at the Art Students league. Some of his most important works came out of his teaching in plein air at his beautiful summer house at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island, designed by Mckim, Mead and White (At the Seaside c.1892). 

Case was born at Franklin, Ind. on Nov. 1, 1849. From his output of more than 2000 paintings he won many honors at home and abroad. He became a member of the National Academy of Design, New York (1890) and for ten years was president of the Society of American Artists. During his last decade he had numerous one-man shows in many major U.S.  cities. In 1912 he was awarded the proctor prize by the National Academy of Design for his "Portrait of Mrs. H." (n/a). At the Panama Pacific exposition (1915) a specific room was assigned to his works. Among his most important canvases are "Ready for the Ride (n/a)", "The Apprentice" (n/a), "Court Jester" (n/a), and portraits of his friends and painters -- Whistler (1885; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City) (n/a), and Duveneck (n/a) and more than a hundred still lifes of dead fish. 



  • See the year in review 1902
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 5, William Benton, 1962, P.312
  • M. Elizabeth Boone book; Espana, American Artists and the Spanish Experience, (Hollis Taggart Galleries) Nov 98, p. 56
  • Wadsworth Atheneum
  • The image is from ebay, I'm looking for a larger and better image.

Footnote 1 

Letter from William Merritt Chase to Dora Wheeler, Madrid, 24, July 1881, Archives, Cincinnati Art Museum, gift of Miss Cadance Stimson; quoted in M. Elizabeth Boone book; Espana, American Artists and the Spanish Experience, (Hollis Taggart Galleries) Nov 98, p. 56.
Created 12/6/2000