A Slice of American Life in a Gilded Age by William Merritt Chase

William Merritt Chase was an American painter who thrived during America’s Gilded Age.

He is best known for his portraits and landscapes in the impressionist “en plein air” (painted outdoors) style.

He captured the domestic comforts of his own family and the blissful lifestyle of some of the wealthy.

While working in the family business, Chase showed an early talent for art, studying under local, self-taught artists in Indianapolis, who urged him to further his studies at the National Academy in New York.

Declining family fortunes cut short his training and he left New York to join his family in St Louis—working to help support them, but continuing his art.

Catching the eye of wealthy St Louis art collectors, Chase was sent on an expense-paid trip to Europe in exchange for some of his paintings and help in procuring others for their collections.

As one of the finest centers for art training in Europe, Chase joined the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where his figurative and impressionist loose brushwork began to shine.

Further travels in Italy rounded out his skills and he returned to the United States as one of a new wave of highly accomplished European-trained artists.

Seated, left to right: Edward Simmons, Willard L. Metcalf, Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Robert Reid Standing, left to right: William Merritt Chase, Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Joseph DeCamp
Seated, left to right: Edward Simmons, Willard L. Metcalf, Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Robert Reid Standing, left to right: William Merritt Chase, Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Joseph DeCamp

American statesman Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin once said of Chase’s style,

A noble sense of color is perceptible in all his works, whether in the subtle elusive tints of flesh, or in the powerful rendering of a mass of color. In the painting of a portrait he endeavors, sometimes very successfully, to seize character

Whether relaxing in the country, strolling in the park, playing with children at the beach, boating on a summer afternoon or simply contemplating life, his paintings show us a slice of American life at a beautiful time. A time tinted with gold. A Gilded Age.

Mrs Chase Playing the Piano by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Mrs Chase Playing the Piano by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Going to see Grandma by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Going to see Grandma by William Merritt Chase, 1889
The Actress Linda Dietz Carlton by William Merritt Chase, c.1879
The Actress Linda Dietz Carlton by William Merritt Chase, c.1879
Afternoon by the Sea by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Afternoon by the Sea by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Sketch for the Portrait of Mother and Child) by William Merritt Chase, c.1915
Sketch for the Portrait of Mother and Child) by William Merritt Chase, c.1915
Afternoon in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1887
Afternoon in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1887
Dorothy and Her Sister by William Merritt Chase, c.1900
Dorothy and Her Sister by William Merritt Chase, c.1900
Contemplation by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Contemplation by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Connoisseur - The Studio Corner by William Merritt Chase, c.1883
Connoisseur – The Studio Corner by William Merritt Chase, c.1883
Children Playing Parlor Croquet by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Children Playing Parlor Croquet by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Child with Prints by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
Child with Prints by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
Chase Homestead, Shinnecock by William Merritt Chase, c.1893
Chase Homestead, Shinnecock by William Merritt Chase, c.1893
Beach Scene - Morning at Canoe Place by William Merritt Chase, c.1896
Beach Scene – Morning at Canoe Place by William Merritt Chase, c.1896
In the Studio by William Merritt Chase, 1892
In the Studio by William Merritt Chase, 1892
An Afternoon Stroll by William Merritt Chase, 1895
An Afternoon Stroll by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Landscape Shinnecock, Long Island by William Merritt Chase, 1896
Landscape Shinnecock, Long Island by William Merritt Chase, 1896
Young Woman in Pink by William Merritt Chase , 1905
Young Woman in Pink by William Merritt Chase , 1905
Portrait of Miss Dorothy Chase by William Merritt Chase, c.1913
Portrait of Miss Dorothy Chase by William Merritt Chase, c.1913
Sunlight and Shadow in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Sunlight and Shadow in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Alice Dieudonnee Chase, Shinnecock Hills by William Merritt Chase, c.1901
Alice Dieudonnee Chase, Shinnecock Hills by William Merritt Chase, c.1901
The Sisters (also known as The Sisters - Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Oskar LIvingston; The Sisters - Mrs. Oskar Livingston and Mrs. James Francis Sullivan) by William Merritt Chase, 1905
The Sisters (also known as The Sisters – Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Oskar LIvingston; The Sisters – Mrs. Oskar Livingston and Mrs. James Francis Sullivan) by William Merritt Chase, 1905
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Susan Watkins by William Merritt Chase, 1914
Susan Watkins by William Merritt Chase, 1914
Terrace at the Mall, Cantral Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Terrace at the Mall, Cantral Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Sunlight and Shadow by William Merritt Chase, 1884
Sunlight and Shadow by William Merritt Chase, 1884
Summertime by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Summertime by William Merritt Chase, 1886
The Song by William Merritt Chase, 1907
The Song by William Merritt Chase, 1907
Woman with a Large Hat by William Merritt Chase, 1904
Woman with a Large Hat by William Merritt Chase, 1904
Woman in Kimono Holding a Japanese Fan by William Merritt Chase
Woman in Kimono Holding a Japanese Fan by William Merritt Chase
William Launt Palmer by William Merritt Chase, 1887
William Launt Palmer by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Weary (also known as Who Rang) by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Weary (also known as Who Rang) by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Wash Day - A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Wash Day – A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase,1887
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase,1887
Dr Benjamin Taylor by William Merritt Chase, 1902
Dr Benjamin Taylor by William Merritt Chase, 1902
Child on a Garden Walk by William Merritt Chase, 1888
Child on a Garden Walk by William Merritt Chase, 1888
The Blue Kimono by William Merritt Chase, 1898
The Blue Kimono by William Merritt Chase, 1898
Bessie Potter by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Bessie Potter by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
The Birthday Party by William Merritt Chase, 1902
The Birthday Party by William Merritt Chase, 1902
August B. Loeb, Esq by William Merritt Chase, 1905
August B. Loeb, Esq by William Merritt Chase, 1905
At the Shore by William Merritt Chase, 1886
At the Shore by William Merritt Chase, 1886
At the Seaside by William Merritt Chase, 1892
At the Seaside by William Merritt Chase, 1892
A Long Island Lake by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
A Long Island Lake by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
The Little Garden by William Merritt Chase, 1895
The Little Garden by William Merritt Chase, 1895
The Lake for Miniature Yachts by William Merritt Chase, 1890
The Lake for Miniature Yachts by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Lady in White by William Merritt Chase
Lady in White by William Merritt Chase
Lady in Pink by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Lady in Pink by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Girl at a Bureau by William Merritt Chase
Girl at a Bureau by William Merritt Chase
A Friendly Visit by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
A Friendly Visit by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
Friendly Advice by William Merritt Chase, 1913
Friendly Advice by William Merritt Chase, 1913
For the LIttle One (also known as Hall at Shinnecock) by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
For the LIttle One (also known as Hall at Shinnecock) by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
The Fairy Tale (also known as A Summer Day) by William Merritt Chase, c.1892
The Fairy Tale (also known as A Summer Day) by William Merritt Chase, c.1892
End of the Season by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
End of the Season by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
An Early Stroll in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
An Early Stroll in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
Afternoon Shadows by William Merritt Chase, c. 1897
Afternoon Shadows by William Merritt Chase, c. 1897

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