William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916)
Lady in Black (Lilian Westcott Hale)
Signed "Wm M Chase" l.l., faint second signature c.l., identified on labels from Spanierman Gallery, New York, and The Athenaeum, Alexandria, Virginia, affixed to the frame backing.
Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in. (76.5 x 61.0 cm), in a period frame.
Condition: Lined, retouch, signature at l.l. partially reinforced.
Provenance: Chase family collection; estate of Alice Chase (wife of the artist), 1927; Newhouse Galleries, St. Louis; Martha Simkins, Texas; Ms. Marie Simkins Brannin and Margaret E. Simkins; Mr. Roland W. Jones, Dallas, Texas; Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, sale #4038, October 27, 1977; Annella Brown, MD, Boston, Massachusetts; private collection, Worcester, Massachusetts, to 1991; private collection, Virginia, to 2015; to the current private collection.
Literature: Newhouse Galleries, St. Louis, Missouri, Paintings by William Merritt Chase, 1927, as Lady in Black; Ronald C. Pisano, completed by Carolyn K. Lane and D. Frederick Baker, William Merritt Chase: Portraits in Oil (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2006), as OP. 555, 262 (illus.) as Lady in Black, Lilian Westcott Hale, c. 1914.
Exhibitions: Ferargil Galleries, New York, Exhibition of Paintings by William Merritt Chase, March, 1927; Newhouse Galleries, St. Louis, Missouri, Paintings by William Merritt Chase, N.A. LL.D. Memorial Exhibition, March 25-April 25, 1927; The Fine Art Society of San Diego, Los Angeles, California, A Collection of Paintings by William Merritt Chase, November 11-30, 1927; The Athenaeum, Northern Virginia Arts Association, Alexandria, Virginia, William Merritt Chase, May 24-31, 1992; Spanierman Gallery, New York, William Merritt Chase: Master of American Impressionism, November 1, 1994-January 31, 1995.
N.B. The lot is accompanied by a copy of an email from Fred Baker dated February 27, 2007, confirming that the painting is reproduced in Ron Pisano's catalogue raisonné and that the sitter is Lilian Westcott Hale (American, 1881-1963). The entry in the catalogue raisonné dates the portrait to c. 1914.
The lining is adhered with Beva or similar. There is possible skinning to the surface within her dress and the background. There are dots and dashes of scattered retouch and broader areas near the left and lower edges. It is possible that the artist returned to the work after it was completed since it was held in the Chase family collection.
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