William Merritt Chase

The above portrait of William Merritt Chase by Thomas Eakins circa 1899.

William Merritt Chase was an eclectic American painter known for his portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. He was also a greatly influential teacher for 36 years. Trained at the National Academy of Design (1869-71) in New York and at Munich's Royal Academy (1872-77), he first achieved recognition as a painter in the somber Munich style. Later, as the result of a trip to Venice, Chase became more concerned with the effects of light, and his landscapes became increasingly impressionistic. In his portraits and interiors, he was influenced by Dutch and Spanish Renaissance painters and by his contemporaries John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler; Chase's Portrait of Whistler (1885; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), painted in Whistler's style, is one of his major works. Also greatly admired were his still-life paintings, such as Still Life--Fish (c.1890-1908; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), which recall 17th-century Dutch masterpieces.

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