William Merritt Chase (1849 - 1916)
Dorothy, c. 1900
Oil on board
16 x 14 inches
Signed and inscribed at upper left: To Virginia with Love / Will
17th Century Spanish style frame
Dr. and Mrs. David R. Wintermann Collection of American Art
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by gift of the above, 1985
Chapellier Galleries, New York, New York, William Merritt Chase: 1849 to 1916, April 1969.
Ronald G. Pisano, Completed by Carolyn K. Lane and D. Frederick Baker, William Merritt Chase Portraits in Oil, Volume 2, The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Works by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006, page 157, illustrated
William Merritt Chase had a remarkable career as one of America’s foremost Impressionist painters. He was also a charismatic teacher and mentor to legions of students at both his Tenth Street Studio building in New York City and the Shinnecock Summer School of Art in Southampton, Long Island.
As a young painting student, Chase revered the bravura brushwork and dramatic sensibility of the Dutch and Spanish 17th Century painters and of Diego Velazquez in particular. While Chase went on to adapt the more pastel palette of the Impressionists, he continued to be inspired by the tenebrous palette of the old masters.
This wonderfully direct portrait of Chase’s daughter Dorothy was painted in 1900, and is a clear homage to Velazquez. The child makes direct eye contact with the viewer, a smile playing on her lips. The brushwork is confident and rich and the palette a dramatic contrast of creams, pinks, and bright red set against subtly modeled brown and black.