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The Young Orphan was first exhibited at the Society of American Artists' 8th annual exhibition, held in the spring of 1884. Chase probably found his model at the Protestant Half Orphan Asylum, located at 67 West 10th Street, next door to the Tenth Street Studio Building where he was working and residing at this time. The artist changed the title to "At Her Ease" when he showed it in June of 1884 at the exhibition of Les Vingt in Belgium. It is interesting from an aesthetic point of view that Chase chose the more neutral title over the socially provocative one when he sent the work off to the salon of this progressive group. Chase directed attention away from the figure's character and position in life and, conversely, focused viewers on the painting as painting. Compositionally and stylistically the work is indebted to Whistler's "Arrangement in Black and Gray, No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother)" (1871, Musée d'Orsay).

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