Dorothy

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
72 x 36 in. 78-1/2 x 42-1/2 in. (framed)
Credit line
John Herron Fund
Accession number
03.4
Collection
Currently On View

Chase relished painting his family, and the pictures of his wife and daughters are among his most memorable canvases.

This portrait of Chase's daughter Dorothy is one of several full-length images with subdued color schemes and unadorned backgrounds that he painted between 1886 and 1902.

Purchased from the artist at the Exhibition of Indiana Art in Tomlinson Hall 1903
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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William Merritt Chase's Memorable Canvases

"Born in Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, William Merritt Chase was a gifted, versatile, and cosmopolitan painter who, through his work and his teaching, became one of the most influential artists of his era. He excelled at both Impressionist landscapes and realistic still lifes, but his most memorable canvases are the portraits of his family members, which add an engaging personal note to his virtuosity. Here the artist's daughter Dorothy, who confronts the viewer with a direct gaze, assumes her place within a delightful series of female full-length portraits that Chase painted between 1886 and 1902. Chase and his family lived in New York City, and Chase's elaborately decorated studio on Tenth Street was a center for the promotion of his art and a gathering place for New York artists. Dressed in a flowing cape and accompanied by his Russian wolfhounds, Chase presented himself as an aristocratic bohemian.

The vigorous brushwork and fresh color that are characteristic of much of the best American painting of the early 20th century owe a good deal to Chase's style. Among his many pupils were painters who would emerge as leading American modernists, including Charles Demuth, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a large collection of canvases by William Merritt Chase, including numerous early works and a variety of still lifes and figure paintings."

Lee, Ellen Wardwell, Anne Robinson, and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2005, p. 140.

Family Portrait

The IMA’s painting of Chase's daughter Dorothy, when she was about eleven years old, is one of the largest and most formal canvases of the artist’s family. It is a tour de force that amply demonstrates why Chase was one of the most sought-after portraitists of his day. The painting has the fashionable air of the best society portraits. Although he was by no means an innovator, Chase’s brilliant technique and sophistication were unrivalled by any portraitist working exclusively in this country at the time. The strong contrast between the girl’s white dress and the dark background emphasizes the figure and draws attention to her fashionable attire, confident demeanor, and striking pose.

Pisano, Ronald G. William Merritt Chase: The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Work by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), Vol. 2: Portraits in Oil. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2007.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Born in Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, William Merritt Chase was a gifted, versatile, and cosmopolitan painter who, through his work and his teaching, became one of the most influential artists of his era. He excelled at both Impressionist landscapes and realistic still lifes, but his most memorable canvases are the portraits of his family members, which add an engaging personal note to his virtuosity. Here the artist's daughter Dorothy, who confronts the viewer with a direct gaze, assumes her place within a delightful series of female full-length portraits that Chase painted between 1886 and 1902. Chase and his family lived in New York City, and Chase's elaborately decorated studio on Tenth Street was a center for the promotion of his art and a gathering place for New York artists. Dressed in a flowing cape and accompanied by his Russian wolfhounds, Chase presented himself as an aristocratic bohemian.

The vigorous brushwork and fresh color that are characteristic of much of the best American painting of the early 20th century owe a good deal to Chase's style. Among his many pupils were painters who would emerge as leading American modernists, including Charles Demuth, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a large collection of canvases by William Merritt Chase, including numerous early works and a variety of still lifes and figure paintings.

The entire New York world of painting was dominated by William Merritt Chase, a glittering personality.
-Artist and critic Guy Pène du Bois, 1940