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Chase, William MerrittDate of birth and death: 1849 - 1916
Nationality: AmericanUploaded artworks: 52
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. 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. 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 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. 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. In January, 1876, one of these figural works, a portrait titled "Keying Up" â€“ The Court Jester was exhibited at the Boston Art Club; later that year it was exhibited and won a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and this success gained Chase his first fame. Chase traveled to Venice, Italy in 1877 with Duveneck and John Henry Twachtman before returning to the United States in the summer of 1878, a highly skilled artist representing the new wave of European-educated American talent. Home in America, he exhibited his painting Ready for the Ride with the newly-formed Society of American Artists in 1878. He also opened a studio in New York in the Tenth Street Studio Building, home to many of the important painters of the day. He was a member of the Tilers, a group of artists and authors. 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.
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 in 1916 in his New York townhouse.
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