William Merritt Chase
Portrait of a Lady in Pink
William Merritt Chase, American, Portrait of a Lady in Pink, ca. 1888-1889, Oil on canvas; 178.4 x 102.2 cm (70 5/16 x 40 3/16 inches), Gift of Isaac C. Bates 94.010
William Merritt Chase’s confident technique reflects both his academic training in Munich and his interest in French Impressionism. Combining both influences, he opposes fine modeling in the sitter’s face and arms with the bravura brushstrokes that create her frothy gown. The pink tonal motif acknowledges a debt to James A. M. Whistler (1834-1903), as does the decorative Japanesque scrim used as a unifying background. Chase considered the portrait one of his best and submitted it to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Purchased by Providence collector Isaac C. Bates, Lady in Pink became the first oil painting by a living American artist to enter the Museum’s collection. The model for the portrait was Mariette ‘Pansy’ Benedict Cotton, one of Chase’s students.