William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916) ” No Title”
Dimensions: 5in. x 5.5in.
Paintings / Oil on Panel
William Merritt Chase (November 1, 1849 – October 25, 1916) was an American painter, known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons School of Design. Honors and late career Chase won many honors at home and abroad, was a member of the National Academy of Design, New York, and from 1885 to 1895 was president of the Society of American Artists. He became a member of the Ten American Painters after John Henry Twachtman died. Chase’s creativity declined in his later years, especially as modern art took hold in America, but he continued to paint and teach into the 1910s. During this period Chase taught such up and coming young artists as Wilhelmina Weber Furlong, Arthur Hill Gilbert, and Edward Hopper. At Carmel-by-the-Sea from July through September 1914 Chase taught his last summer class, his largest with over one hundred pupils and his most problematic. His former student, Jennie V. Cannon, in conjunction with Chase’s business manager C. P. Townsley and Carmel’s co-founder Franklin Devendorf, persuaded the esteemed painter to visit the Pacific Coast with promises of generous financial returns. Suffering from declining health (cirrhosis of the liver), Chase took the opportunity shortly after his arrival to meet with the directors of San Francisco’s forthcoming Panama-Pacific International Exposition to secure his own exhibition gallery, which he had been denied earlier. He was adored by his Carmel students, several of whom published extensive descriptions of his lectures and teaching methods. Chase found the art colony at Carmel too confining socially and moved his residence to the nearby luxury Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, where he negotiated several important portrait commissions. In mid-August one of his students, Helena Wood Smith, was brutally murdered by her Japanese lover, which caused the cancellation of several classes, near violent hysteria in the art colony, and the early departure of some of his students. Chase continued with his regular teaching schedule, held meetings with important regional artists, such as William Ritschel, painted several local scenes, and experimented with monotypes. Chase died on October 25, 1916, at his home in New York City, an esteemed elder of the American art world. He was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Today his works are in most major museums in the United States. His home and studio at Shinnecock Hills, New York, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as the William Merritt Chase Homestead.