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 the couple’s summer home at Shinnecock, in the town of Southampton, Long Island, New York. The artist captured her engaged in a genteel handicraft with a maternal subtext: sewing a bit of apparel for a “little one,” presumably one of the five children in the Chase family by 1895. While he included in the scene decorative elements that conjured the aesthetic atmosphere of their residence, Chase focused more intently on the effects of light, demonstrating his command of plein-air painting, even with an indoor subject.