A painter known for his still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, William Merritt Chase was born in Williamsburg, Indiana . In 1867 he began studying art with Barton S. Hays in Indianapolis and then moved to New York, where he studied with Joseph Oriel Eaton and also at the National Academy of Design with Lemuel Wilmarth. In 1871 Chase enrolled at the Royal Academy in Munich. After returning to New York, in 1879 he founded the Art Club along with Julian Alden Weir and Albert Pinkham Ryder. During the next decade he began experimenting with open-air painting, and as a result of this new interest in light and atmosphere, his palette lightened. Chase taught art at many schools, beginning in 1878 at the Art Students League. In 1896 he established the Chase School of Art, which was renamed the New York School of Art after he relinquished his administrative role. Chase was a member of many art organizations, including the Society of American Artists, serving as president in 1885, the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Association of Portrait Painters. The recipient of numerous awards for his many American exhibitions, Chase also was honored with a knighthood in the Order of Saint Michael by the prince regent of Bavaria in 1908.



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