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The Cover
June 4, 2003

At Her Ease

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(21):2763. doi:10.1001/jama.289.21.2763

The cap of any career, it would seem, is to be recognized by one's peers. To the American painter William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) the recognition came relatively late; only in 1890, shortly after his 41st birthday, was he elected a full member (academician) of the National Academy of Design in New York City. Patterned somewhat after the prestigious Royal Academy of London, the National Academy of Design had been founded in 1825 with the intent of giving the same sort of professional recognition to American artists. The honor was awarded at two levels: as an "associate," the candidate was entitled to use the designation "ANA" after his or her name; later, again with the vote of the membership, the candidate could became a full member, or academician, and was entitled to replace the honorary ANA with NA. Theoretically, the NA or even ANA was the seal of excellence; practically, like degrees everywhere, it also had economic implications. To Chase, the economics would hardly seem to matter. He was already well known and highly successful among both New York society and the international art world.

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