Frank Swift Chase

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Frank Swift Chase
Born (1886-03-12)March 12, 1886
St Louis, Missouri
Died July 3, 1958(1958-07-03) (aged 72)
Benedictine Hospital
Kingston, New York
Education Art Students League
Known for Painting, drawing
Movement Post-Impressionism

Frank Swift Chase (12 March 1886 – 3 July 1959) was an American Post-Impressionist landscape painter and a founder of the Woodstock Artists Association in Woodstock, New York, the art colony at Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the Sarasota School of Art in Florida.

Education and training[edit]

Chase was born in St Louis, Missouri, on 12 March 1886. The fourth child of Grace (née Metcalfe) and Charles Denison Chase, he attended public elementary school and high school in St Louis. Despite a mathematical mind, he did not progress to college, instead working as an assistant in his father’s laboratory at the Aluminum Company of America in Bauxite, Arkansas. His father was an Alcoa chemist noted among the pioneers of experimentation with the use of nitroglycerin in mining.

In his early twenties he traveled to New York City to join his elder brother, Edward Leigh Chase, at the Art Students League, and later followed him again to ASL's Art League School of Landscape Painting at Woodstock, where he studied under L. Birge Harrison and John F. Carlson in 1909. The Chase brothers, both gifted artists, were early members of the Woodstock artist’s colony, whose participants worked and lived in hand-made Catskill Mountain cabins as part of Ralph Whitehead’s experiment with utopian living at Byrdcliffe, the Bohemian settlement nestled in the slopes above the town.

Teacher and founder[edit]

A decade later, in 1919, Chase was one of the founders of the Woodstock Artists’ Association, along with Andrew Dasburg, Carl Eric Lindin, Henry Lee McFee, and his former teacher John Carlson. The following year he summered on Nantucket Island, where he established his first art school. From 1920 onward, Chase was the leading teacher of painting there for three decades. Dubbed “the dean of Nantucket artists” by the Artists Association of Nantucket, he was largely responsible for the development of that community as a true art colony. Among Chase’s most important legacies were his students, including many who became renowned painters themselves: Elizabeth Saltonstall, Isabelle Hollister Tuttle, Ruth Haviland Sutton, Emily Hoffmeier and Anne Ramsdell Congdon. Chase encouraged open-air painting classes, weather permitting, otherwise utilizing wharf cottages along the waterfront, reminiscent of his own tutelage back in the mountain shanties of Woodstock. He helped to establish and nurture the Nantucket Artists Association, along with other influential local artists like Pat Gardner, Sybil Goldsmith, Philip Burnham Hicken, Edgar Jenney, C. Robert Perrin and Tony Sarg.

Although based in Manhattan, Woodstock and Nantucket, Chase traveled around the United States. He spent a two-year stint in southern California during 1935 and 1936, painting the desert outside Palm Springs. In 1940, he founded the Sarasota School of Art at Longboat Key, Florida, where he taught periodically through 1952. Back in Woodstock, he taught and helped to promote such future notables as Harvey Fite, Anton Refregier and Marko Vukovic.


Chase died at the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, New York, on 3 July 1958.[1] He is buried among other family members in the Artists Cemetery in Woodstock.


Chase's paintings are heirs of the Northern Romantic tradition. Clearly influenced in his youth by American Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, he became more faithful to nature as his style matured, many of his later landscapes evoking a spiritual kinship with earlier Hudson River School masters like Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church.

His brother Edward Leigh Chase is the paternal grandfather of the actor Chevy Chase.



  • Member: Allied Artists Association, 1913
  • Springfield Artists Association (Illinois)
  • Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, 1922
  • Woodstock Artists Association, 1919
  • Nantucket Artists Association.


  • Woodstock Artists Association, permanent archives.
  • Nantucket Historical Association, archives.
  • A Genealogy of David Latham Stevens and Richard Chase Stevens, (Volume IV), by D.L. Stevens.
  • The Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror


  1. ^ "Frank Swift Chase". The New York Times. 28 July 1958. Retrieved 2016-02-06. (Subscription required (help)). Frank Swift Chase of Woodstock, a landscape painter, died today in Benedictine Hospital, Kingston, after a long illness.I He was 72 years old... 

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