William Merritt Chase Portraits in Oil Ronald G. Pisano

Publication date:
28 Apr 2007
Yale University Press
312 pages: 305 x 241mm
245 b-w + 326 color illus.
Sales territories:


The great American artist William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) completed a wide variety of portraits over his long career. Among his subjects were presidents, businessmen, celebrities, New York luminaries, and members of his family as well as a number of self-portraits. Chase’s ability to capture a likeness was renowned, yet it was his dashing and bravura brushwork that truly set his portraits apart.

This highly anticipated book presents the entire collection of Chase’s known portraits in oil. Each is gorgeously reproduced, and many are published in color for the first time. This is the second of four volumes cataloguing the complete works of William Merritt Chase. The catalogue raisonné project has presented immense challenges, for Chase kept no records at all, and staggering numbers of forgeries of his work appeared soon after he died. Finding many of his portraits was especially difficult, as no log book of sitters has been located and no other records exist for those works that were not publicly exhibited. Nevertheless, Ronald G. Pisano’s meticulous research has uncovered more than six hundred portraits in private and public collections. Among the most notable are Chase’s penetrating portrait of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), a commanding portrait of Dora Wheeler (Cleveland Museum of Art), The Feather Fan featuring Chase’s oldest daughter, Alice (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), and a 1908 self-portrait (Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

Ronald G. Pisano was curator of the Heckscher Museum of Art and director of the Parrish Art Museum. At the time of his death in 2000, he was nearing completion of thirty years of research toward publishing the catalogue raisonné of Chase’s work. Carolyn K. Lane is an independent scholar. D. Frederick Baker is a director of the Pisano/Chase Catalogue Raisonné Project.

"Each portrait is meticulously reproduced, and many are published in color for the first time."?Southampton Press

"Every known portrait in oil painted by the outstanding American artist William Merritt Chase is examined in this exhaustive work, one made especially daunting by the fact that Chase kept no records of his work, complicated further by the large number of forgeries that appeared after his death."?Nicholas A. Basbanes (Adult Picks for the Holidays 2007)