Park Bench1890 by William Merritt Chase
The 1880s marked transitions in Chase’s personal life, as well as a new direction in his art, with a move away from his dark Munich manner. After their marriage in 1887, Chase and his wife Alice moved in with his parents in Brooklyn and had their first child—Alice, nicknamed Cosy—the oldest of 6 daughters and 2 sons. The setting inspired new subject matter for Chase—the beauty of everyday life, depicted with an increasingly brighter color palette. Working en plein air... Chase began to paint scenes of leisure in urban parks. A City Park depicts a well-dressed young woman on a bench in Tompkins Park. Her features are blurred, perhaps in acknowledgement of contemporary etiquette that advised women never to catch the eye of a stranger in public places. Nevertheless, she is alert and facing the viewer.... Park Bench depicts another young woman, lost in thought in Central Park, her novel forgotten in her lap.
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