Arts Everyday Living: Through the Eyes of an American Impressionist-A Woman Artist & Designer

William Merritt Chase, Dora Wheeler, 1882-1883, oil on canvas, Gift off Mrs. Boudinot Keith in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Title: Portrait of Dora Wheeler, 1882-1883

Artist: William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)


Dora Wheeler (1856-1940), the subject of the portrait above by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), would become a multi-talented artist, including designing textiles with her mother Candace’s decorating business.  She also studied under Chase, having the distinction of helping start his career as a prominent and gifted teacher—the first of a long list of students from Rockwell Kent to Georgia O’Keeffe.

Here she sits contemplating us in an elegant Elizabethan era chair, attired in a rich blue gown which seems to sweep across the canvas. Behind her rises a striking yellow tapestry, alive with the movement of butterflies, flowers, and a black and white cat in the upper left hand corner. Almost camouflaged into the material is a bouquet of jonquils or daffodils, as if Chase were trying to trick us into thinking that they are handmade rather than real.




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