Portrait of a Man

This painting was long thought to portray the Norwegian artist Eilif Peterssen, in part because it appears hanging on the wall in a photograph of his studio. The man represented in this painting, however, looks nothing like Peterssen’s self-portrait. Chase and Peterssen both studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich during the 1870s. Chase’s painting may portray a mutual acquaintance or it may simply be a “study head”—an academic exercise in light, shade, and the handling of paint.


to Eilif Peterssen to 1928; (Blomquist Auction House, Oslo, c. 1930); to Als S. Bjerke, c. 1930; to Asbjorn R. Lunde, 1968; gift to the Sterling and Francince Clark Art Institute, December 31, 1980.

William Merritt Chase

American, 1849–1916

Portrait of a Man

c. 1875

Oil on canvas

24 x 19 in. (61 x 48.3 cm)

Gift of Asbjorn R. Lunde, 1980




Conrads, Margaret C. American Paintings and Sculpture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1990.