William Merritt Chase (1849–1916)
One of America’s Impressionist masters, William Merritt Chase achieved extraordinary success as an artist and art instructor at the turn of the twentieth century. Originally known for his portraits and still-lifes, Chase began to concentrate on landscapes in the 1880’s and pioneered the plein-air movement in the United States. His atmospheric images of the American countryside earned him the Proctor Prize at the National Academy of Design as well as gold medals from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Paris Exposition of 1900, the Buffalo Pan-Am Exposition of 1901, and the Charleston Exposition of 1902. Chase was admitted into the country’s most exclusive group of impressionist painters, The Ten, in 1902 and helped to found two seminal art organizations: the Society of American Artists and the Society of Painters in Pastel. He was also renowned as a brilliant art teacher who trained the next generation of American artists, including Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Today, his work is featured in The White House, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Madrid.