William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916)
Still Life: Fruit, alternatively titled Fruit and Porcelain, c. 1908
Signed "Wm M Chase." l.l., identified on labels from the Corcoran Gallery of Art,
Bernard and S. Dean Levy, New York, and Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco, affixed to the backing.
Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 in. (73.6 x 91.4 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, fine craquelure.
Exhibitions: Summer's Lease, Corcoran Gallery of Art, June 13 to August 31, 1972, Ex-collection of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hennage; William Merritt Chase Memorial Exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 19 to March 18, 1917, No. 30 (lent by Content Johnson); Exhibition of Paintings by William Merritt Chase, National Arts Club, New York, January 5 to 13, 1910, No. 86 (lent by Content Johnson).
N.B. We wish to thank D. Frederick Baker for confirming the authenticity of the present work, and for his assistance with cataloguing the lot. The work is included in Ronald G. Pisano's The Complete Catalogue of Known and Documented Work by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), Vol. 4 (Yale University Press, 2010, SL.127). According to Baker, "the work was either purchased by Content Aline Johnson from Chase, or more likely given by the artist to Johnson, a student of Chase's and close friend of the Chase family. Chase's youngest daughter, Mary Content Johnson, born 1903, was named after Content Johnson. The painting is one of several by Chase that were owned by Miss Johnson, whose portrait was painted by Chase, ca. 1902."
The lining is adhered with glue. The craquelure is mostly stable, but there is an area of lifting and cupping approximately 1 1/2 x 3 inches below the leaf on the table surface, and several nickel and dime-sized areas to the background u.l. There is mild cupping along the upper edge. The retouch is collections of minute dots, some among the fruit and on the table (including the area of cupping here), and slightly broader collections of dots and dashes to the background. Cleaned by conservator Morton C. Bradley,. Jr., formerly of the Fogg Art Museum, in 1983.