The Ancient Mariner

Harry Chase A.N.A. Diploma Portrait

Benoni Irwin, 1883.

Harry Chase in the

New York Times

A New York Times article, entitled "Once Forgotten Past, Now Recalled in Painting," which incorporates a section about my research into the life and work of Harry Chase was published June 13, 2014. You can read the article at the link below. The section on Harry Chase begins at the bottom of the second column.

James Jebusa Shannon's portraits rescued from obscurity

Who was

Harry Chase?

Born 1853, Woodstock, Vermont

Died 1889, Sewanee, Tennessee

It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. 'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?'
-- First stanza, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1834. Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Now, wherefore stop I thee to consider Harry Chase? Virtually unknown today, he was a member of the corps d'elite of American art during the second half of the Nineteenth Century. His importance as an artist during his career cannot be overstated. Nonetheless, Harry Chase no longer holds the same rank of significance that some of his contemporaries such as John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, James Abbot McNeill Whistler or William Merritt Chase still do today. However, while he was alive, his name was held in the same high esteem as these recognized luminaries of the American art world. Harry Chase deserves to be more fully known today for his contributions to American art during the Gilded Age.

In his particular genre of marine painting, Harry Chase was perhaps in a class by himself with only a handful of Americans such as Arthur Quartley, Winslow Homer, Mauritz F. H. De Haas or members of the Moran family attaining comparable significance in this field during his career. In the newspapers and journals of the day, Harry was readily acknowledged as one of the outstanding American marine painters, some even said he was the greatest. Yet, very few will have even heard of Harry Chase today.

Likewise, history has been particularly unkind to him and he no longer receives the accolades that were his while he was alive, and of these there were once many. Harry Chase is also denied the standing and recognition due him even now for the important part he played in the coming of age of American Art, a period which pushed later avant-garde American artists into the Twentieth Century. Harry’s life and work rightly justify closer examination.

Born in Woodstock, Vt., in 1853, Harry Chase grew up on a farm in Iowa, landed in St Louis as a teenager, and proceeded to study fine art at august institutions such as the National Academy of Design in New York City (1871) and the Royal Bavarian Academy of Fine Art in Munich (1872–1875). He also studied under Soyer in Paris (1877–1878) and Mesdag in The Hague (1879). Famous for his paintings of marine and coastal settings, Harry Chase was considered to one of the finest American artists in this genre, and was especially known for his scenes of the fisher folk of Holland.

Harry was a famous, well-regarded artist in his day, but has since fallen into obscurity. I believe he deserves to be better known and I have undertaken the publication of this website to illuminate his life and work. If you have any paintings, photographs, letters, documents, drawings or information regarding Harry Chase and would like to contribute to my effort, please email comments or questions to

Latest news:

  • The Case of the Purloined Painting

How I was able to discover a stolen Harry Chase painting and right a wrong. Click link below to read.

The Case of the Purloined Painting

  • Gorgeous early work by Harry Chase sold at Kodner Gallery in St. Louis

Caught in the Ice, an early masterpiece created by Harry Chase in 1876, was sold recently at Kodner Gallery in St. Louis. The work has a fascinating history, which is delved into in detail in the following piece:

Provenance of Caught in the Ice

  • Article in Maine Antique Digest

The Thrill of the Chase: A Detective Story

by Jeffrey B. Chace

Newly featured article in September 2018 Issue of Maine Antique Digest about a recently rediscovered painting by Harry Chase. Click on the title of the article above to read the story.

Fishing Smack on Buzzards Bay, 1882

Dutch Herring Boats, 1882

Cradle to grave biographical sketch of the life and career of Harry Chase, including provenance of his two paintings owned by the Missouri Athletic Club, by Jeffrey B. Chace.

A précis in the Cherry Diamond, the magazine of the Missouri Athletic Club, of a detailed article Jeffrey B. Chace wrote about two oils on canvas by Harry Chase that are part of the collection of the club (top right of the page).

A detailed examination of pen & ink sketches by Harry Chase from Holland in the summer of 1879, by Jeffrey B. Chace.

  • Harry Chase painting for sale

A remarkable oil painting by Harry Chase is for sale by the current owner. Entitled Low Tide, Dutch Coast, the work was painted in 1883 in New York. For more information, click this link: