Terra Foundation-supported Events

Dialogue: “Painting Artists’ Studios in the Late Nineteenth Century: William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) in Context”

Pairing art historians James Glisson and Alain Bonnet, this dialogue marks the occasion of the exhibition William Merritt Chase (18491916): A Painter between New York and Venicecurrently on view at Ca’ Pesaro Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna, in Venice. Over the course of the long nineteenth century, the phenomenon of artists’ professionalization led to new social classifications. The search for social recognition and the self-celebration of artistic vision appeared as crucial concerns. In the late nineteenth century, the artist’s studio developed into an important motif, depicted as a social, professional, commercial, and imaginary space. The American painter William Merritt Chase, for example, repeatedly pictured his own ateliers, including the celebrated Tenth Street Studio Building in New York, along with other spaces in the United States and abroad, primarily during the 1880s and 1890s. Veritable icons of eclecticism, Chase’s studio paintings perform the making of art. This dialogue will open with a broad reflection on this new imagery, including the then-popular journalistic genre of artist studio visits in illustrated magazines. By comparing Chase’s practices with European approaches to the artist’s studio, this dialogue will place his series in context. How did the late nineteenth-century atelier interweave private and public, training and mise en scène, inspiration and enterprise?


  • Alain Bonnet is Professor of Art History at the Université Grenoble Alpes. He is the author of, among other books, L’Enseignement des arts au XIXe siècle. La réforme de l’École des Beaux-Arts de 1863 et la fin du modèle académique (2006) and L’Artiste itinérant. Le Prix du Salon et les bourses du voyage distribuées par l’État français (1874–1914) (2015). He co-curated exhibitions Devenir peintre au XIXe siècle. Baudry, Bouguereau, Lenepveu (2007) and L’Artiste en représentation. Images de l’artiste dans l’art du XIXe siècle (2012).
  • James Glisson is the Bradford and Christine Mishler Assistant Curator of American Art at The Huntington Library, where he curated A World of Strangers: Crowds in American Art (2015–16), Real American Places: Edward Weston and Leaves of Grass (2016–17), and the forthcoming exhibition Frederick Hammersley: To Paint without Thinking. His essays have appeared in Artforum, Afterimage, and in collective works such as The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920 (2015) and The Eight and American Modernism (2009). He is presently writing on Chase’s studio pictures.

This event is free and open to the public. It will be held in English. Please RSVP by May 15 to:
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