Interpretive Resource

Artist Biography: William Merritt Chase

A concise biography of Chase's life and work.

National Gallery of Art. Micro Gallery—National Gallery of Art. Online Content. Washington, D.C., 2004.

William Merritt Chase
American, 1849-1916
Like many other American artists during the second half of the nineteenth century, William Merritt Chase was eager to absorb the lessons of European painting. While studying in Munich, Germany, in the 1870s, he developed a bold, brilliant, painterly style that had a lasting impact on his work. In turn, his successful career contributed to a growing respect for artists in America.

Chase was a prolific painter whose subjects include landscapes, studio interiors, and, later, portraits. Alice Gerson, whom he married in 1886, was frequently his subject. Claiming that "the desire to draw was born in me," Chase did not pursue a career in business as his father had wished. Chase was a founding member, and later president, of The Society of American Artists, which was formed in opposition to the conservative policies of his alma mater, the National Academy of Design. He was an influential teacher; his Tenth Street studio in New York served as a crucial place for the exchange of ideas.



High School

View mobile website