Frank Swift Chase
In my earlier years of collecting, the only traditional landscape artist from the Woodstock group that I knew much about was John Carlson. But an exhibition of Frank Swift Chase’s work in 1985 at Vose Gallery in Boston helped change that. I was visiting this venerable establishment of Boston blue blood, and America’s oldest gallery, when I was overwhelmed by a 40" x 50" autumn landscape by Chase (literally overwhelmed because it was hanging in a very tight stairwell and I couldn’t get more than two feet from it). I found it very exciting… and very big. As I viewed the show I appreciated the close connection between John Carlson and Frank Swift Chase. In comparing the palette of these two landscape artists, an article in the Woodstock Times referred to “Carlson’s Scandinavian brooding” and “Chase’s joy in color and paint.” Chase was a physical, joyful lover of nature and the outdoors, with an occasional boxing or wrestling match thrown in. By 1985, about twenty years into collecting, I had become a “stealthy collector,” trying to perfect the art of sneaking the newest acquisition past the wife, into the house, and surviving. No amount of stealth was going to work this time, so as I maneuvered the monster out of my van, I tried telling my wife that Chevy Chase is Frank’s great-nephew—“how cool is that?” It did not deflect her wrath, even though it is true. Some years later, a second example, a juicy little snowscape from Spanierman Gallery, stealthily worked its way into our collection.