Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island, William Merritt Chase
Link is to the painting in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum, which has zoomable and downloadable version of the image on their website. There is also a downloadable image on Wikimedia Commons.
I have long been an admirer of the paintings of the 19th century American artist William Merritt Chase, for his portraits, interiors, still life and landscapes. Among his landscapes are a series of wonderful paintings from his summers living and teaching in the Shinnecock Hills area of eastern Long Island, New York.
These depict gently rolling hills and dunes covered in wildflowers, dune grasses and scrubby bushes, which Chase rendered with his beautifully textural variation on the loosely related styles that are together known as “American Impressionism”. The compositions often included members of Chase’s family, idyllically enjoying the summer sun and sea breezes.
I have found the character of the landscape in those paintings particularly interesting, as it’s quite unlike the shore areas and beaches I’m more familiar with in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and western Long Island.
I finally got to see some of the area where Chase lived and painted over the last few days on a mini-vacation to the area around Amaganssett, East Hampton and Montauk, on the far eastern end of Long Island, and somewhat east of where Chase had his summer home and school.
I found it fascinatingly different not just from beach areas elsewhere, but from any other place I’ve been — quite beautiful and not surprisingly an inspiration for Chase and his students.