Two Centuries: American Art

Two Centuries: American Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 143. Portrait of Miss B..

Property from the Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana

William Merritt Chase

Portrait of Miss B.

Lot Closed

December 11, 07:42 PM GMT

Estimate

80,000 - 120,000 USD

Lot Details

Description

Property from the Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana

William Merritt Chase

1849 - 1916

Portrait of Miss B.


signed indistinctly * M. Chase (upper left)

oil on canvas

canvas: 71 3/4 by 36 inches (182.2 by 91.4 cm)

framed: 81 by 45 inches (205.7 by 114.3 cm)

Painted circa 1903.

The artist, until 1910
Newhouse Galleries, St. Louis, Missouri
[with]Fort Worth Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas, by 1926
Private collection, Salt Lake City, Utah, circa 1928
[with]Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Private collection, Aspen, Colorado, 1980 
Michael A. Nickol Fine Arts, Mishawaka, Indiana, 1996
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1996

"The Paintings by Mr. Chase," Academy Notes 4, February 1909, p. 146 (misidentified as Portrait of Miss E.)
"Chase Collection an Admirable One," Bridgeport Daily Standard, March 3, 1910, p. 3 (misidentified as Mrs. B)
Ronald G. Pisano, William Merritt Chase: Portraits in Oil; The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Work by William Merritt Chase, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006, vol. II, no. OP.381, illustrated backwards p. 197 

According to Richard G. Pisano, "William M. Chase painted the present work in his Shinnecock Hills studio in Long Island during the first decade of the twentieth century (this according to Mrs. Chase in testimony dated November 25, 1925). Miss Bellemy had been a student of Chase's in his Shinnecock Summer School of Art, which operated from 1891 to 1902. Chase had completed at least one demonstration piece in the summer of 1902 (Portrait of Miss Bellemy [Miss Bellemy]; OP.366) using Miss Bellemy as the model. Unlike the demonstration piece of Miss Bellemy, which was bust-length and signed with the less formal 'Chase,' her portrait was created for exhibition and therefore was full-length and much more finished. Although this painting is most likely the same work Chase exhibited as Miss Bellemy at the Knoedler and Company exhibition in 1903, he thereafter gave it the more generalized title of Portrait of Miss B. for more important shows. In doing so, Chase minimalized the significance of the identity of his model, shifting the focus instead to the aesthetic values of the work. Unlike the formally posed society portraits of the period, Chase here sought to cultivate a more naturalistic, 'modern' image, which he achieved by presenting his model in a candid manner as she turns to acknowledge the presence of the artist (or viewer) while continuing to adjust her glove. The fold in her dress underscores the immediacy of the action. The gentility and strong character of the sitter constituted something of a trope in Chase's portraiture, a 'type' that he identified as typically American. 


In 1909, in connection with its appearance in a traveling exhibition, the painting was described (under the mistaken title Portrait of Miss E.) as 'a beautiful full-length portrait of a lady in a light canary-colored dress, standing, in the act of buttoning a glove') Academy Notes [February 1909]: 149). Miss B. is included on Peat's 1949 checklist as Woman in White, and as being owned by the Fort Worth Museum of Art, Texas" (as quoted in William Merritt Chase: Portraits in Oil; The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Work by William Merritt Chase, New Haven, Connecticut, 2006, vol. II, p. 197).