The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
To the casual observer of the late 19th-century scene, the life of the
American painter William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) must have seemed as idyllic
as the climbing roses that spilled over the wooden fence of his Brooklyn backyard.
Not yet 40 years old, he had gone from a teenage salesman in his father's
Indianapolis shoestore to a Munich-trained painter who, after his training
at the Royal Academy under Karl von Piloty and Alexander von Wagner, was himself
offered a teaching position there. He declined and accepted instead a position
at the Art Students League in New York City. Among his friends were numerous
artists, including Frank Duveneck, John Twachtman, and, until their falling
out after Chase painted his portrait, James Abbott McNeill Whistler. He traveled
extensively in Europe, for months, even years at a time, where he was particularly
taken with the work of the 17th-century Dutch Masters and with the work of
Velásquez. He was influenced by Whistler and the Belgian painter Alfred
Stevens, who persuaded him to abandon the dark, varnished look of the Munich
school and to lighten his palette to the more blonde, spontaneous style of
the European Impressionists.
Southgate MT. The Open Air Breakfast. JAMA. 2001;286(6):644. doi:10.1001/jama.286.6.644