William Merritt Chase
Woman in Chinese Robe
North America, American, New York
20 in. x 16 in. (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Margaret Freer
Currently On View
The somber tonalities and heavily impastoed surface of "Woman in Chinese Robe" illustrate the influence of Chase’s training at Munich’s Royal Academy where the curriculum stressed the use of a dark palette. The background setting of framed paintings and drapery suggest that this canvas was created in Chase’s Tenth Street studio, a space that he occupied between about 1878 and 1895.
The work is most probably a studio study. It is important as an early example of Chase’s use of a model in Oriental costume and his experimentation with Oriental motif. A fascination with Oriental imagery is apparent in Chase’s work dating from the 1880’s. A specific source of this interest is difficult to pinpoint because of the pervasive nature of Orientalism in European art from the 1860’s and in American art from the 1880’s onward. The use of Oriental costume, accessories, and pattern in Chase’s paintings reflect not only his own interest in this subject, but also his knowledge of international trends.
American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 24, p. 80.