Friends & Associates
The list of Harry Chase's close friends and professional colleagues reads like a Who's Who of 19th Century American Art.
A friendship with William Merritt Chase was kindled when the two men first met one another in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1870, well before either had made a name for himself. Both having studied at the National Academy of Design in Manhattan under Lemuel Wilmarth, they shared a intense desire to study in Munich. In the summer of 1872, they journeyed together to Munich to study at the Royal Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts. While that early friendship does not seem to have remained strong, their paths continued to cross in the decade after their studies in Munich, both becoming members of many of the same art clubs and societies, including the National Academy of Design, and they sent paintings to most of the same exhibitions during their careers.
The budding St. Louis art scene of that era produced several lasting friendships for Harry Chase. Paul E. Harney was another artist with whom Harry shared a particularly close bond. The two of them shared a studio with their early mutual master, James Reeve Stuart, and Harney would also end up in Munich for his studies. James William Pattison and Thomas Allen Jr. were two other young artists who orbited in the same circles in those early years, both travelling later to Europe for stints in Écouen where Harry's French master Paul Constant Soyer kept house and studio. Harry's brother-in-law, William Sylvester Eames, was a St. Louis artist before his career as a national architectural figure, and the two men shared a passion for the St. Louis Sketch Club. Among other members of the St. Louis Sketch Club members with whom Harry associated were organizational phenom Halsey Cooley Ives, Joseph R. Meeker, brewing king Ellis Wainwright, William Romaine Hodges, and William Lewis Marple.
While in Munich, Harry befriended Robert Koehler, later the Director of the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts. Frederick Dielman, who was to become the President of the National Academy of Design, was also with Harry Chase in Munich in the early 1870s, both enrolling at the art academy there on the same day together. Also in Munich, Harry met and befriended Walter Shirlaw, who painted his portrait in 1872, and Joseph Dwight Strong and John McNaughton Donaldson also became Harry's close friends.
Many of this early coterie of artists to which Harry belonged took the necessary step of studying en masse abroad thereby acquiring the training necessary to bring American Art on par with that of Europe. The refinement they attained was unmistakably European, but their skillfully rendered works appealed to the tastes of the privileged classes of the United States and helped established a market at home for American art, thus empowering a younger generation.
Take a look at the photos of his many friends on this page. They were the movers and shakers of the American Art World of the second half of the 19th Century. While many of his peers need no introduction and will be familiar to anyone who possesses even the most cursory knowledge of art history, Harry Chase warrants our recognition and deserves to be remembered.