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Frank Swift Chase   Click Images to Enlarge

Frank Swift Chase

(American, 1886-1958)

Frank Swift Chase was born in St Louis, MO on March 12, 1886. Chase studied at the ASL in NYC and Woodstock in 1909. He was based in New York and Nantucket, MA except during 1935-36 when he was in southern California where he painted the desert near Palm Springs. He was the leading teacher of painting in Nantucket for three decades where he ran his own school (est. 1920). In 1919 he was one of the founders of the Woodstock Artists Association along with John Carlson, Andrew Dasburg, Carl Eric Lindin, and Henry Lee McFee. Like the Impressionists, Chase relied on painting what he saw. And like them, selecting a scene, and framing it to determine its composition, were among the decisions most crucial to the appearance of the final work. In his Autumn Lights he chose a Fall scene dominated by subtle explosions of color that is more jolting than what is seen in the works of a card-carrying modernist like McFee, who sought a calmer, more classical ideal in his painting. The thickly painted, ominous grey sky that hovers behind the fiery landscape in Autumn Lights gives it an emotional tension. Chase's paintings are the heirs of the Northern Romantic tradition, and, although Chase was more faithful to the scene as perceived, they evoke a spiritual kinship with Van Gogh who also had an emotional response to nature and rendered it with expressive, tactile paint. Chase was a landscape painter who emerged from the Woodstock colony as one who applied a heavy impasto in rhythmic patches of brushwork, and often bold color. In 1940 he founded the Sarasota School of Art at Longboat Key and taught there until 1952. Chase died in Woodstock, NY in July 1958. He is the paternal grandfather of the actor Chevy Chase.

Member: Allied AA; SC, 1913; Springfield (IL) AA; CAFA, 1922; Woodstock AA (co-founder 1919); Nantucket AA.

Exhibitions: PAFA, 1918-23; Corcoran Gal., 1919-23; Newport AA, 1920, 1924 first prize; NAD, 1921; SC, 1921; AIC, 1922 (prize); Eastman School Music, 1922; Rochester Mem. Gal., 1922; Philadelphia Arts Cl., 1922; Minneapolis IA, 1922; Herron AI, 1922; Indiana AA, 1923; Carnegie Institute., 1923; Peabody Gal., Baltimore, 1923; Art Dir. Club, 1924 (medal); Kenneth Taylor Gal., Nantucket, 1953; Woodstock AA; Nantucket AA, 1954; SC; Springfield (IL) AA; Salmagundi Club, 1921; San Diego FA Gallery, 1928.

In: Charleston (SC) Museum; Mechanics Inst., Rochester NY; Nantucket Historical Association.