William Merritt Chase Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
11-1-1849 Nineveh, USA - 10-25-1916 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
William Merritt 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 instructors asked him to go to New York to further his artistic training. He arrived in New York in 1869, met and studied with Joseph Oriel Eaton for a brief span, at that point he selected the National Academy of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth, an understudy of the popular French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.
In 1870, declining family fortunes forced William Merritt 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. He also exhibited his first painting at the National Academy in 1871. Chase's painting ability was noticed by well off St. Louis art collectors who arranged a two-year trip to visit Europe, in return for works of art and Chase's assistance in getting European art for their collections.
In Europe, William Merritt Chase settled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. He studied under Alexander von Wagner and Karl von Piloty and got to know American artists Walter Shirlaw, Frank Duveneck, and Joseph Frank Currier.
In Munich, Chase employed his burgeoning talent most often in figurative works that he painted in the brushed style popular with his instructors. In January 1876 one of these figure works, a portrait titled Keying Up The Court Jester, was displayed and won a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and this success gained Chase his first critical fame.
William Merritt Chase made a trip to Venice in 1877 with Duveneck and John Henry Twachtman before coming back to the United States in 1878. On his return to New York, Chase opened an art studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building, which was full of artists. In 1881, friend and artist William Preston Phelps made a trip back to Europe to collaborate with Chase on a working tour of Italy and Germany.
William Merritt Chase, Teacher to the Soon to be Rich & Famous.
He settled in New York in 1878 and taught at the Art Students League of New York and then establishing his own Chase School of Art founded in 1896 and the New York School of Art which he also founded, now called the Parsons School of Design.
William Merritt Chase won many honors at home and abroad, and became a member of the National Academy of Design. His expansive, decorated studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building, which he took not long after his arrival to New York, was the most famous artist's studio in America. In 1886 he wedded his model, Alice Gerson. Chase mastered the ability to create a casual image of life suspended in time which, while looking easy and unpremeditated, was actually composed to reflect the movement of real people in real life situations.
The vigorous handling and crisp color characteristic of a great part of the best American painting of the early twentieth century owes a good deal to his painting style. William Merritt Chase pupils whom he encouraged to paint in the open air included Georgia O'Keeffe and Edward Hopper.
Art Movement: Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Chase: Alexander von Wagner, Karl von Piloty, Joseph Oriel Eaton, Lemuel Wilmarth.
He Traveled To Italy, Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Spain.
Painters William Merritt Chase Influenced: Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Dora Wheeler, George Bellows, Louise Upton Brumback, Kate Freeman Clark, Charles Demuth, Silas Dustin, Lydia Field Emmet, George Pearse Ennis, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, M. Jean McLane, Leopold Seyffert, Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones, Joseph Stella, Edward Charles Volkert, Arthur Frank Mathews, Xavier Martinez, Percy Gray, Wilhelmina Weber Furlong, Arthur Hill Gilbert.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.