Lady in Black
William Merritt Chase (American, Williamsburg, Indiana 1849–1916 New York)
Oil on canvas
74 1/4 x 36 5/16 in. (188.6 x 92.2 cm)
Gift of William Merritt Chase, 1891
Marietta Benedict Cotton (1868–1947) studied with Chase and became a successful society portraitist in New York and London. Chase later recalled: “One morning, a young lady came into my Tenth Street studio. . . . She came as a pupil but the moment she appeared before me I saw her only as a splendid model. . . . Such a model is a treasurefind. It is the personality that inspires, and which you depict on canvas.” An unabashed eclectic, Chase shared James McNeill Whistler’s predilection for monochromatic portraits and quoted the table at the left from John Singer Sargent’s "Madame X" (Madame Pierre Gautreau) of 1883–84 (16.53), also in the Museum's collection.