FINE ART INVESTMENTS SINCE 1978
William Merrit CHASE
Title: "The Court Jester"
Medium: Original Etching
on Japan Paper
Image Size: 7" X 4"
William Merrit Chase, (1849–1916), Born in 1849 in Indiana, William Merritt Chase showed artistic talent as a young
boy. His family arranged for him to begin formal training in art at the age of eighteen with a local portrait painter in
Indianapolis. In 1869 Chase went to New York, where for two years he was a student at the National Academy of Design.
In Munich he studied with Karl von Piloty, who helped him to perfect a quick, bold brushstroke and taught him the
dramatic Munich “dark manner.” He returned to New York in 1878 to teach at the Art Students League, a position he
held until 1896, when he opened his own art school in the city. By 1874 Chase was established in his Tenth Street studio,
located in a building that was a center for artists. In his studio, Chase painted, taught, and entertained other artists,
students, and patrons. Between 1891 and 1902 Chase directed a summer school in Shinnecock Hills, which became the
most important outdoor art school in America.
He was elected president of the Society of American Artists in 1885, a position he held for the next ten years, and in 1890
he was elected academician in the National Academy of Design. Chase was a well-known and prolific artist. His
paintings were admired in the United States and abroad for their luminous color, virtuoso brushstroke, and assured
composition, and his work was exhibited widely, often winning prestigious awards. He was an influential teacher whose
students included many of America’s noted modernist painters—Sheeler, O’Keeffe, Hartley, and Demuth among them.
Besides founding the Chase School in New York, he traveled regularly to Philadelphia to teach at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, and in his later years, taught summer classes in England, Spain, Holland, and Italy.