William Merritt Chase Oil Painting Reproductions
William Merritt Chase Paintings
William Merritt Chase was an American painter known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He was born in Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, to the family of a local merchant. Chase's father moved the family to Indianapolis in 1861 and employed his son as a salesman in the family business. 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 teachers urged him to travel to New York to further his artistic training. He arrived in New York in 1869, met and studied with Joseph Oriel Eaton for a short time, then enrolled in the National Academy of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth, a student of the famous French artist Jean-Leon Gerome.
In 1870 declining family fortunes forced 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, winning prizes for his paintings at a local exhibition. He also exhibited his first painting at the National Academy in 1871. Chase's talent elicited the interest of wealthy St. Louis collectors who arranged for him to visit Europe for two years, in exchange for paintings and Chase's help in securing European art for their collections.
In Europe Chase settled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, a long-standing center of art training that was attracting increasing numbers of Americans. He studied under Alexander Von Wagner and Karl von Piloty, and befriended American artists Walter Shirlaw and Frank Duveneck. In Munich, Chase employed his rapidly burgeoning talent most often in figurative works that he painted in the loosely-brushed style popular with his instructors. One of these, a portrait titled "Keying Up" - The Court Jester (now in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) won a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and gained Chase his first fame. 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. One of his last teaching positions was at Carmel, California in the summer of 1914. Chase died on October 25, 1916 in his New York townhouse, an esteemed elder of the American art world. Today his works are in most major museums in the United States.