Pink Azalea—Chinese Vase

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

Date: 1880–90 (?)

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 16 9/16 in. (59.7 x 42.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.490.5


Although Chase executed about 120 still life paintings, only ten were based on flowers. However, vases of flowers occasionally appear in his interior scenes and in his portraits. In this canvas an azalea shrub is depicted in a Chinese export porcelain vase, which is presumably used as a planter. Chase was an avid collector of bric-à-brac, including Asian artifacts. The asymmetrical composition of this painting hints at another important aspect of Chase's orientalism: his willingness to emulate some of the basic design principles of Far Eastern art.