Meadows & Amon Carter Paintings Paired for Summer Show

William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)
Idle Hours
ca. 1894
Oil on canvas
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas


19th-century paintings by Mariano Fortuny and William Merritt Chase

shine in first-time pairing


DALLAS (SMU) – May 15, 2018 – The Meadows Museum, SMU, presents a focused summer exhibition pairing its recent acquisition Beach at Portici (1874), by Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838–1874), with a loan from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Idle Hours (1894), by William Merritt Chase (1849–1916). At the Beach: Mariano Fortuny y Marsal and William Merritt Chase explores Chase’s admiration of Fortuny, through two key paintings, one by the American artist and one by his Spanish predecessor, displayed together for the first time June 24 through September 23, 2018.

The depiction of leisure time at the beach was popular in late 19th-century painting, and both Fortuny and Chase used beach scenes to showcase their great skill at rendering light. In both paintings, the artists portray their respective families in fashionable white garments lounging near a curving coastline, Fortuny’s in southern Italy and Chase’s on Long Island, New York. The two paintings even share similar compositions—defined by strong diagonals and a balance of land, sky and figures—as well as loose, fluid brushstrokes that capture the effects bright summer sunlight on earth, sea, sky and skin. Even though the artists were separated by time and geography and never actually met, their paintings transcend distance, representing a dialogue that speaks eloquently of a bond between them.

Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (Spanish 1838–1874), Beach at Portici, 1874. Oil on canvas.

“Chase said of Fortuny, ‘Everything he did was interesting.’ And he was not alone in his admiration for the Spanish painter, who was extremely popular in America at the turn of the century. But while Chase never knew Fortuny the man, he certainly knew Fortuny’s paintings, including Beach at Portici, which Chase would have had ample opportunity to see in America—most notably at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, the year before he painted Idle Hours,” says Amanda W. Dotseth, Meadows/Mellon/Prado Fellow and co-curator of the exhibition with Mark A. Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum.

“Despite their differing career trajectories,” says Roglán, “each artist achieved fame as a cosmopolitan painter. They were celebrated for these canvases, which present painterly beach scenes with scintillating summer light while celebrating the extraordinary beauty to be found in everyday moments with family.”

This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.

Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (Spanish 1838–1874), Seascape (Study for Beach at Portici), 1874. Oil on canvas.


The following public programs will complement this exhibition:

Three Thursdays, May 31, June 7 & 14, 6:00–7:30 p.m.

LECTURE SERIES: Light, Camera, Landscape: The Rise of International Impressionism

Nancy Cohen Israel, art historian and owner of Art à la Carte

Technological advances in the 19th century made it possible for artists to work en plein air. The advent of train travel and tubed pigments beckoned urban artists to villages such as Barbizon and Fontainebleau, France. Taking full advantage of natural light, these painters started an artistic revolution. Not only did the Paris School become a magnet attracting artists from across Europe and the United States, but it ultimately sent them back to their home countries, bringing this radical new style with them. This series will trace the rise of Impressionism in France, the offshoots of painters in Spain and Italy, and the aftershocks sent throughout the West.

$40 for the 3-part series; free for Museum members, and SMU faculty, staff, and students; registration required at 214.768.8587

Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

Saturday, June 23, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

COMMUNITY DAY: A Day at the Beach

Spend the day at the beach and take in the light of late 19th century masters Mariano Fortuny y Marsal of Spain and William Merritt Chase of the United States. This special community day will include art making, gallery talks, a storyteller, refreshments, and more!


Thursday, June 28, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

LECTURE: At the Beach: Mariano Fortuny y Marsal and William Merritt Chase

Mark A. Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum

Andrew Walker, Executive Director, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Join us for this special double lecture examining the creation of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal’s (1883–1874) Beach at Portici, 1874, and William Merritt Chase’s (1849–1916) Idle Hours, 1894, on loan from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Many comparisons can be made between these two cosmopolitan painters, Fortuny of Spain and Chase of the United States. The two artists both utilized loose, rapid painting styles akin to French Impressionism. Despite his early death, Fortuny established a popular genre of painting costumed figures set in richly ornamented settings. This fashion of painting was assumed by the younger Chase while he was studying abroad in Europe in the 1870s. The two painters turned to more private and personal scenes in their later work, which will be the subject of this special program held in conjunction with the summer installation At the Beach: Mariano Fortuny y Marsal and William Merritt Chase.

Free; reservations required at 214.768.8587

Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium


About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The Museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’s vision to create “a small Prado for Texas.” Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.

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