Chase, who is almost lost in the shadows at the right, portrays himself holding his palette as if pausing from work, but he leaves it to the viewer to deduce whether the young woman with whom he chats is a model, a patron, or a friend. Her listlessness and immersion in an aesthetic interior make her seem like a precious object, a simile embraced by many artists and collectors of the period. Her association with art reflects women's roles as consumers and keepers of culture and arbiters of taste. Chase encoded his professional ambitions in the opulent decor of his Greenwich Village studio and in his painted accounts of it. Packed with works of art and souvenirs of travel, the studio showcased Chase's refinement and connection with tradition; provided a place for display, contemplation, and professional entertaining; and offered a retreat from urban confusion.1880/Saint Louis Art Museum
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