“Mrs. Chase in Spanish Costume,” one of many family portraits by William Merritt Chase, exemplifies the artist's mastery of oil painting and his ability to reveal a subject’s essence. Influenced by the dark tones and broad brushstrokes of Diego Velázquez, Chase (1849 – 1916) skillfully depicted his ebony-clad wife against a deep green background. Carefully proportioning the background to his wife’s form, Chase flawlessly added accents of red and ivory. Renowned for his portraits, Chase painted numerous other subjects, and worked equally well in oils and pastels.
An American leader of Impressionist landscape painting, William Merritt Chase (1849 – 1916) was also a brilliant portrait and still-life artist. The leader of several artistic societies, he taught future icons Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent. Chase was a trendsetter who introduced European styles to American artists. A master of mimicking rich oil paints with pastels, he could expertly paint numerous subjects. Chase’s contemporary Impressionist works significantly impacted the acceptance of modern styles in late 19th-century America.