William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase (November 1, 1849 – October 25, 1916) was an American painter, known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher. He is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons The New School for Design
William Merritt Chase is known as a painter and as an influential teacher. The Chase School, which he established in 1894, evolved into the Parsons School for Design | The New School in New York. He was both a bon vivant, known for his extravagant taste, and for his generous encouragement to his students, he gave equal support to both men and women.
Chase was born in Indiana in 1849, his first job was as a salesman in his father’s business. He was interested in art early on, but didn’t see it as a vocation. When he was 19 he decided to become a sailor but quickly found this was not for him and headed to New York to learn more about art. He moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, to help his family, and his artistic talent began to be recognized. Local collectors paid for him to take a two-year European trip, in exchange, he scouted out paintings for them, and they received work that he produced on the stay.
On this trip Chase studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, to stay away from the Paris art scene. He became a recognized artist before he returned to the States and settled in New York. He took over artist Alfred Bierdstad’s studio and decorated it extravagently, and later had to sell its contents to pay bills. He married Alice Gerson and they had eight children together, the family frequently posed for his paintings. He began to teach. The Art Students League, New York School of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine arts, were some of the places he taught before establishing the Chase school.
Chase was considered the leading teacher of the early twentieth century and his students are among the best-known American artists: George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Howard Chandler Christy, Joseph Stella, and Charles Demuth are just a few.