With Father’s Day just a week away, are you ready to celebrate dad? Dads come in all shapes and sizes and do all sorts of amazing things for their children, not the least of which is go to work! I remember as a little girl always being excited in the evening when it was time for dad to come home from work. My brother and sister and I waited in eager anticipation for him to walk through the door, ready to drag him into a game or two. For most kids, when dad goes to work, he disappears for the day, but for some, dad’s work includes the family. And for several painter-fathers featured in the DMA’s collection, their work truly was all in the family!
The American painter William Merritt Chase was not only a famous painter and teacher, but he was also a devoted father. In fact, he painted his children and wife over and over again! The painting above is of the Chase’s oldest child, Alice whose nickname was Cosy. “According to family tradition, Chase exclaimed, ‘Doesn’t she look cozy?’ one day when he saw the infant lying in the corner of a sofa. The nickname stuck within the family….” (Dallas Museum of Art web site). This painting shows Alice at age twelve or thirteen, but her father painted her throughout her life, from the time she was a baby until she was all grown up. Because of her father’s teaching and encouragement, Alice grew up to become an artist herself!
Frank W. Benson is another father-painter. He and Chase were colleagues and along with eight other artists, formed a group known as “Ten American Painters.” Like Chase, Benson often used his family as the subjects of his paintings. He and his wife and four children spent their summers on a small coastal town in Newcastle, New Hampshire where Benson would teach painting lessons on the pier with a fellow artist. Later he became famous for his portraits of his wife and children painted at a new summer home on Wooster Farm, Maine.
So whether you get him a new tie, paint a portrait, or make breakfast in bed, be sure to give the dads in your life a big “Thank You” this coming Father’s Day. (And if you like, bring them on over to the Museum and spend an afternoon with our father-painters).
Posted by: Leah