William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916)
    Untitled (Nude Resting in a Chair), circa 1888
    Pastel on paper mounted on canvas
    28-1/2 x 23-1/2 inches (72.4 x 59.7 cm)
    Signed center right: Chase

    Christie's, New York, May 23, 1990, lot 128;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    E. Smithgall et al., William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master, exhibition catalogue, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 2016, p. 137, plate 41, illustrated;
    R. Pisano and D.F. Baker, William Merritt Chase: The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Work, Volume 1 (The Paintings in Pastel, Monotypes, Painted Tiles and Ceramic Plates, Watercolors, and Prints), New Haven, Connecticut, 2006, p. 19, no. P.44.

    One of the most successful and sought-after American artists both during his lifetime and today, William Merritt Chase is celebrated both for his elegant portraiture and for his light-filled plein-air landscapes. Also importantly, however, he has also been described as the "single most important teacher of his generation, perhaps in all of American art education" (W. Gerdts, American Impressionism, New York, 1995, p. 135). Indeed, Willliam Merritt Chase had a tremendous influence on a generation of artists, due in great part to his instruction at the Art Students' League in New York, where he taught between the years of 1878 and 1894 and again from 1907 to 1911.

    Chase created the present work as a classroom demonstration while teaching at the League, utilizing a live model and a chair from his studio. Executed in pastel on a relatively large scale, this sumptuous drawing exemplifies the artist's mastery of the unique medium. Chase's ability to contrast the creamy, shaded texture of the sitter's flesh tones with the soft velvety surface of the seat cushion with such ease is a testament to his artistic ability, and one can imagine the pupils in his classroom captivated by the master's skill upon watching him create this remarkable work.

    Ronald Pisano and Frederick Baker write about this work in their catalogue raisonné, "Chase generally signed his classroom demonstration pieces simply 'Chase.' The swivel chair upon which the model sits can be seen in a photograph of Chase standing in his famous Tenth Street Studio that was reproduced in an article on the famous New York Studio Building The Villager (March 27, 1947): 3."

    Condition Report*:

    Framed Dimensions 39 X 34 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    3rd Friday
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