William Merrit Chase Painting 

Bosler Memorial Library


Conserved Chase PaintingWilliam Merrit Chase was born in Williamsburg, Indiana. As the oldest of his five brothers, his father hoped that he would join him in the women's shoe business. Chase resisted because he felt that he was born to draw. He began training with Barton S. Hays and soon after began studying at the National Academy of Design in New York.


Chase eventually moved to St. Louis where he professionally painted still lifes. Some wealthy collectors in the area recognized his talent and offered to pay for him to be trained abroad at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In return he would paint for them, and bring back additional artwork for their collections.


Chase returned to New York and began teaching at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Art Association, and The Pennsylvania Association of Fine Arts. In addition to teaching, he was a founding member of the Shinnecock Summer School of Art, and the New York School of Art. In 1880, he was elected president of the Society of American Artists. His world famous studio was located in the 10th Street Studio Building in NY. His studio was a reflection of his generations’ artistic practices and beliefs. William Merrit Chase achieved great success as an artist and instructor. He influenced and taught many great East Coast artists such as: Charles Demuth, Silas Dustin, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O'Keefe. He died in New York City in 1916.


William Merrit Chase Painting Before TreatmentThe Bosler Memorial Library contacted B.R. Howard & Associates Inc. regarding a 1 1/2'' x 4'' tear to their William Merrit Chase painting. The 18''x 24'' portrait portrays a young female in a high collared white dress.


The painting was carefully packed and transported to our studios where it was photo documented and examined prior to treatment. In addition to the tear, there were small amounts of flaking paint and losses surrounding the nearby areas. The portrait also had a layer of grime and airborne pollutants along with a varnish, which had slightly yellowed with age.



Repaired and Filled Puncture Hole that was Covered by FrameThe painting was removed from its frame and the areas of flaking paint were consolidated to prevent any further loss. It was then surface cleaned to remove the grime layer and discolored yellow varnish. After the portrait was cleaned and consolidated, it was removed from its stretcher. The tacking edges were relaxed using moisture and were flattened using acid free blotters and weights. The torn edges of the painting were realigned and mended with conservation grade 2-part epoxy resin and allowed to dry under weights until cured. The back of the canvas was gently cleaned using a vacuum attached to a rheostat. The painting was then placed onto a vacuum hot table and relined on a Belgium linen using a formulated wax/resin mixture. The Chase painting was then reattached to the stretcher and stretcher keys were applied. An isolation varnish was applied to the surface of the painting, and the areas of loss were in-painted using MSA Acrylic Paint and Maimeri Artist Restoration Colors. A final non-yellowing finish was then applied to the surface.


The frame was surface cleaned and areas of loss were filled with gesso. The missing ornamental components were cast with a 2-part carveable epoxy resin. The areas were then toned to match using Sepp Leaf Mica Powders.


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