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William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916)
Self Portrait as Colonel Johan Claeszoon Loo (Detail after Frans Hals' 'Assembly of Officers of and Subalterns of the Civic Guard of St. Adriaen at Haarlem'), 1903
Oil on canvas, 40-3/4 x 32-3/4 in.
Gift of the Baker/Pisano Collection.  2001.9.51

About This Work

Frans Hals was one of the artists most admired by William Merritt Chase. Chase's own style, developed during his years of study at the Royal Academy in Munich, is characterized by painterly brushwork and tonal contrast that relates to the 17th-century Dutch and Spanish masters, such as Hals and Velázquez, who inspired the artists of the Munich School. As was customary in the training of young artists, Chase copied paintings after the Old Masters, sometimes from memory, and he continued to copy from the Old Masters even after his student days had ended. Over 40 known copies by Chase are known, including works after Velázquez, Hals, and Rembrandt. Self Portrait as Colonel Johan Claeszoon Loo was executed during the summer of 1903, when Chase took a group of students on a summer tour to Holland, the first of a series of summer study excursions organized by Chase to artistic centers in Europe. The 1903 tour focused on Haarlem, the birthplace of Hals. Typically, the students divided their time between copying from the Old Masters under Chase's supervision and working outdoors on plein air landscape paintings. The following year, Charles Sheeler accompanied Chase's trip to London, recounting his response to the Hals paintings he saw in the museums there: "Then there was Hals who, with all that Chase had said about him, claimed the right of way. Brilliancy to the nth degree - and those blacks! They have seldom been equaled and never surpassed."


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