New Books — William Merritt Chase

“A perennial favorite of museum visitors, the works of William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) embody the quintessential characteristics of American Impressionism: outdoor landscapes, a colorful palette, and an energetic brushstroke. He was also a portrait painter of the first rank, a master of still life, a renowned teacher, and a leader of artists’ societies.”

William Merritt Chase: The Paintings in Pastel, Monotypes, Painted Tiles and Ceramic Plates, Watercolors, and Prints (M Chase .C48 P57 2006)

This gorgeous book, the first of a four-volume definitive catalogue, features Chase’s stunning paintings in pastel, which constitute a major and previously understudied body of work by the artist; monotypes; painted tiles and plates; watercolors; and prints. Reconstructing Chase’s oeuvre is a daunting task, as the artist left few records of any kind, and no documentation of his individual works exists. Furthermore, Chase’s paintings and pastels have been forged in great numbers throughout the years, and many of these works still surface on the art market. Making this long-awaited volume even more valuable is a list of every known exhibition of Chase’s work during the artist’s lifetime, selected examples of major post-1917 exhibitions, and an essay on Chase’s innovative pastel technique.

William Merritt Chase: Portraits in Oil (M Chase .C464 A4 2006)

This second of four volumes presents the entire collection of Chase’s known portraits in oil. Each is gorgeously reproduced, and many are published in color for the first time. Finding many of his portraits was especially difficult, as no log book of sitters has been located and no other records exist for those works that were not publicly exhibited. Nevertheless, Ronald G. Pisano’s meticulous research has uncovered more than six hundred portraits in private and public collections.

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