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William Merritt Chase (1840-1916)
John Butler Talcott, ca. 1900
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Talcott Family - 1943.03

The details of the dark, conservative suit worn by John Butler Talcott in this portrait by William Merritt Chase are not readily visible, yet the basic components of coat, waistcoat, and trousers remain the universal link with other portraits of men of the period. The white of his shirt, hair, and beard make a strong graphic statement in contrast to the black of his suit and lends a sturdy, dignified air to the composition, despite the sitter's apparent frailty. His regalness is reinforced by the velvety red background and highly decorated armchair.