William Merritt Chase, A City Park, c. 1887
From the Art Institute of Chicago:
William Merritt Chase’s paintings of public parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan are intimate renditions of familiar locations that chart the artist’s response to America’s rapid urban growth. A City Park is an early example of Chase’s park scenes and exhibits the dramatic spatial effects, high-keyed palette, and small scale that characterize these works and point to French Impressionist influences. It is probable that Chase executed his park scenes, like the French Impressionists, en plein-air. The strong light, vivid color, and fluid brushwork of A City Park suggest a spontaneous method of composition rather than a studio production. The small scale of the work also conforms to Chase’s practice of painting outdoors unburdened by unnecessary or bulky materials.