William Merritt Chase (1849-1946) Part II

Chase cultivated multiple personnae: sophisticated cosmopolitan, devoted family man, and esteemed teacher. Chase married Alice Gerson in 1886 and together they raised eight children during Chase’s most energetic artistic period. His eldest daughters, Alice Dieudonnee Chase and Dorothy Bremond Chase, often modeled for their father.
In New York City, however, Chase became known for a flamboyance that he flaunted in his dress, his manners, and most of all in his studio. At Tenth Street, Chase had moved into Albert Bierstadt’s old studio and had decorated it as an extension of his own art.

Chase filled the studio with lavish furniture, decorative objects, stuffed birds, oriental carpets, and exotic musical instruments. The studio served as a focal point for the sophisticated and fashionable members of the New York City art world of the late 19th century. By 1895 the cost of maintaining the studio, in addition to his other residences, forced Chase to close it and auction the contents.

In addition to his painting, Chase actively developed an interest in teaching. On the urging of a patron, Chase opened the Shinnecock Hills Summer School on eastern Long Island, New York in 1891 and taught there until 1902. Chase adopted the plein air method of painting, and often taught his students in outdoor classes. He also opened the Chase School of Art in 1896, which became the New York School of Art two years later with Chase staying on as instructor until 1907. Chase taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1896 to 1909; the Art Students League from 1878 to 1896 and again from 1907 to 1911; and the Brooklyn Art Association in 1887 and from 1891 to 1896. Along with Robert Henri, who became a rival instructor, Chase was the most important teacher of American artists around the turn of the 20th century. In addition to his instruction of East Coast artists like Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Charles Volkert, he had an important role in influencing California art at the turn of the century, especially in interactions with Arthur Frank Mathews, Xavier Martinez and Percy Gray.

Source

See the beginning of this article in part I





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