For the Little One

Artist: William Merritt Chase (American, Williamsburg, Indiana 1849–1916 New York)

Date: ca. 1896

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 40 x 35 1/4 in. (101.6 x 89.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Amelia B. Lazarus Fund, by exchange, 1917

Accession Number: 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.