Pink Azalea—Chinese Vase, 1880–90 (?)
William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)
Oil on wood; 23 1/2 x 16 9/16 in. (59.7 x 42.1 cm)
Gift of Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard, 1979 (1979.490.5)
Chase executed about 120 still-life paintings of which only ten featured flowers. However, he occasionally included vases of flowers in his interior scenes and his portraits. Here he shows an azalea shrub planted in a Chinese export-porcelain vase of the sort that he himself collected, along with much other bric-a-brac. Although azaleas are native to Asia, Europe, and North America, they are particularly popular in China and Japan. In addition, showing flora in an appropriately styled container, Chase's painting reveals his adoption of an asymmetrical arrangement, a common compositional choice of Asian artists.