Tours at Two: William Merritt Chase


  • Chase likely discovered the model for this painting at New York’s Protestant Half Orphan Asylum, which was located next door to the famous 10th Street Studio building where he was working at the time.
  • Compositionally, the painting recalls James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Black and Gray No. 1 (also known as Whistler’s Mother).
  • Chase originally exhibited the painting in the spring of 1884 as The Young Orphan, but when he showed it in Belgium in June of that year, he changed the title to the more socially neutral At Her Ease.
  • The painting’s coarse-weave canvas was commonly used not only by Chase, but it was also adopted by many of his students, including Mississippi painter Kate Freeman Clark.

(detail) William Merritt Chase, The Young Orphan [or] An Idle Moment [or] Portrait, 1884; Oil on canvas; National Academy of Design, New York, 221-P 

Posted by Kristen Rambo at 2:00 PM
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