For the Little One, ca. 1896
William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)
Oil on canvas; 40 x 35 1/4 in. (101.6 x 89.5 cm)
Amelia B. Lazarus Fund, by exchange, 1917 (13.90)
For the Little One shows Chase's wife, Alice, in the entry hall of their summer home at Shinnecock, in the town of Southampton, on Long Island, New York. Around 1896, Mrs. Chase gave birth to the couple's sixth child in eight years and first son. Chase captures her engaged in a genteel handicraft with a maternal subtext, sewing a bit of apparel for a "little one." While Chase includes in the scene decorative elements with which he conjured the aesthetic atmosphere of their residence, he focused more intently on the effects of light, demonstrating his command of plein-air painting, even with an indoor subject.