American Artists: William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)



Figure 1.-- One Chase portrait is of child star Elsie Leslie Lyde who played Little Lord Fauntleroy on the stage (1889). "Little Lord Fauntleroy" was one of the most popular stage plays of the late 19th century. There were many productions of the play throughout the United Stats, England, and te major cities of Europe. Quite a number of child actors played the part, both boys and girls. Several girls played the part necause Cedric was usually costumed with long hair as depicted in the Regional Birch drawings used to illustrate the first edition of the book.

William Merritt Chase is an important American portrait artist and educator. He was born in 1849. He studied art in Munich. At the time there were few places for serious artists to study in America. Munich was an important art center in Europe. He returned to America to both paint and teach art. He was tremendously influential. He taught at the Art Students' League of New York, a major influence on American art. He founded his own school--the Chase School of Art (1896). He promoted the idea of painting in the open air. Chase is noted for vigorous brush work and bold colors. This approach can be seen in the work of many early 20th century American artists. Some of his best known students students were Demuth, O'Keefe, and Sheeler. Chase produced more than 2,000 paintings making him one of the most prolific American artists. His work included still lifes, portraits, interiors, and landscapes, but is probably best known for his portraits. We know only a few portraits of children. One is of child star Elsie Leslie Lyde who played Little Lord Fauntleroy on the stage (1889).

Parents


Childhood

William was born in 1849.

Education

Chse studied art in Munich. At the time there were few places for serious artists to study in America. Munich was an important art center in Europe.

Educator

He returned to America to both paint and teach art. He was tremendously influential. He taught at the Art Students' League of New York, a major influence on American art. He founded his own school--the Chase School of Art (1896). He promoted the idea of painting in the open air. Chase is noted for vigorous brush work and bold colors. This approach can be seen in the work of many early 20th century American artists. Some of his best known students students were Demuth, O'Keefe, and Sheeler.

Body of Work

Chase produced more than 2,000 paintings making him one of the most prolific American artists. His work included still lifes, portraits, interiors, and landscapes, but is probably best known for his portraits. We know only a few portraits of children.

Elsie Leslie (Lyde) (1881-1966)

One Chase portrait is of child star Elsie Leslie (Lyde) who played Little Lord Fauntleroy on the stage (1889). "Little Lord Fauntleroy" was one of the most popular stage plays of the late 19th century. There were many productions of the play throughout the United Stats, England, and te major cities of Europe. Quite a number of child actors played the part, both boys and girls. Several girls played the part because Cedric was usually costumed with long hair as depicted in the Regional Birch drawings used to illustrate the first edition of the book. Mrs. Burnett in the book text mentions curls, but provides few specifics.

Dorthy

We noticed a portrait of Dorthy. We do not yet know who she was, but it is a wonderful portait depicting how girls from affluent families dressed at the turn of the 20th century. All we know anout the portrait was that it was done in 1902. Perhaps some of our readers will know just who Dorthy was.

Sources

Douglass, Jane. Trustable and Preshus Friends (New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977), 95p. Edited by Jane Douglass. Foreword by Julie Harris. This is an interesting book about her stage career. It contains numerous photographs of her in Fauntleroy roles.






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Created: 8:07 PM 2/26/2007
Last updated: 8:08 PM 2/26/2007