William Merritt Chase was born in Williamsburg, Indiana on the 1st of November, 1849. He showed an early interest in Art and studied under local, self-taught artists Barton S. Hays and Jacob Cox.
After serving in the navy, his tutors urged him to travel to New York to pursue and develop his artistic career. Unfortunately this venture was cut short when he had to go home to support his family financially. He continued with his painting and gained the recognition of wealthy art collectors in his home town. They arranged for him to travel to Europe in exchange for paintings, where he learnt a great deal and studied under a number of famous artists and eventually made a name for himself.
Known as an exponent of Impressionism and as a teacher, he is also responsible for establishing the Chase School, which later would become Parsons The New School for Design.