William Merritt Chase
(1849-1916)

William Merritt Chase is recognized as one of the foremost American artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Celebrated for an eclectic body of work that cuts across subject matter, technique, and media, he was also a revered and influential teacher. Chase prized his artistic versatility and actively cultivated a flamboyant public persona that complemented the astonishing flexibility with which he shifted from one style to another.

He trained first with Barton S. Hays in Indianapolis before studying abroad at the Royal Academy in Munich, where he met his future friends and travel companions Frank Duveneck and John Twachtman. Though he was first recognized for his still lifes, Chase painted a range of subjects including landscapes, cityscapes, studio interiors, and portraits in both oil and pastel. His wife and his children were frequently featured in his works. Chase’s style found affinity in the French Impressionists’ brushwork and treatment of light. He became a late member of “the Ten American Painters” and opened the Chase School of Art, which would later be renamed the Parsons New School for Design.