DOMA has several impressionist paintings, but Rest by the Wayside stands out to me for its natural beauty. Although this painting is smaller than some that surround it, the color combinations attract my attention. I’ve seen Chase’s work in other museums, and I’m pleased that this painting is included in our collection.
The painting, completed by William Merritt Chase in about 1902, exemplifies the artist’s landscape period toward the end of his career. Chase, an Indiana native, studied in Indianapolis, New York and Munich, Germany before returning to the United States in 1878. The artist painted a wide array of subjects including portraits, still-lifes and landscapes, showcasing the breadth of his painting ability. Phillip Kennicott, an art critic at the Washington Post, wrote of Chase that “…his mastery of different styles, different national tendencies gleaned from cosmopolitan exposure to the breadth of Europe’s art scene, can make it seem as if multiple painters are represented.”
From 1891 to 1902, when this painting was completed, Chase spent his summers in the Shinnecock Hills of New York where he founded the Shinnecock Summer School of Art. He spent time painting the nature around him, producing a series of vast landscapes which often featured a small human subject. The cool blues and greens of the vegetation paired with the hazy sky give the painting a dreamy feel, eventually directing the eye along the horizon to ponder where the dirt path leads. The mysterious human figure makes the viewer wonder why he is sitting alone in the wide landscape.
Frank C. Ball, David Owsley’s grandfather, purchased Rest by the Wayside from Chase’s widow, Alice. The painting has been exhibited across the nation in Seattle and New York City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984. Rest by the Wayside can be found upstairs in the American gallery, alongside another Chase painting.