Tessa, At The Seaside, Long Island


William Merrit Chase, At The Seaside (1892)

He’d liked to deck the halls in pageantry.
Look at those flamboyant parasols
for a touch of Orientalism.
The sky’s blossoming in fluffs.
Cobalt blue against cornflower yellow,
splashes of big red and smaller reds on
tasselled cushion, and bonnet, and pail.
A stain of colors balanced by white
in a canvas for beauty.

He in pince-nez glasses, and a walrus
moustache, sat watching the child play
in the sand, painting everything within
sight as real as possibly can.
The mother in a long pink floaty dress
talking to the older girl.
The sketchiness of the figures
huddled beside the yellow parasol.
The ghostliness of human shapes
riddled in bright summer.

Prompt: Happy 4th of July, poets! So today’s artwork is by an American Impressionist artist, William Merritt Chase. I read that a large retrospective titled “William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master,” opened at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in June 2016 and will go on to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in October and the International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice, Italy, in February. He had taught plein air classes at Shinnecock, Long Island, where he had a summer home, and his Shinnecock works are regarded as the finest examples of American Impressionism. Your prompt is to write an ekphrastic piece to this or any of his paintings.


2 thoughts on “Tessa, At The Seaside, Long Island

  1. Irene, I love how smart this is. You know all the right words for the period…orientalism, pince-nez glasses, walrus mustache. And the last line is just, exactly perfect. Good write. 🙂


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