CHASE, Theodora Larsh - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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CHASE, Theodora Larsh

Theodora Larsh Chase

Theodora Larsh was born in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana where she grew to womanhood. Her mother was Elizabeth French, daughter of John S. French, a doctor. Her father, John M. Larsh was the son of Toliver and was a long-time business man in Crawforsville (Hardware) .

Theodora's graduated with the class of 1897. In a yearbook some 20 years later, this is written about her (and by her).

Source: Crawfordsville Athenian yearbook 1924? 1897 - I do not know how many of us have attained the "pipe dream" of our HS days, but I would mention Theodora Larsh, now Mrs. Francis Dane Chase, of NY City, as one of us whom we all feel has realized her one ambition to become an artist of marked ability. As a miniature portrait painter, she has achieved great success. The following is an extract from one of her letters: "I have a darling little studio in the tower of Carnegie Hall, 15 stories up, with a wonderful view of the city from my windows. A bit of Central Park, a stretch of Fifth Avenue, two blocks away and away beyond, the river and the beautiful bridge towers, a view of Long Island city. It is charming here in the very heart of things, and this big building is entirely devoted to Arts. All the big concerts and lectures are held in the spacious hall down stairs, this hall seating 3000." -- Mary Winter-Gilbert

Her first jump from the small city of C'ville to a large city was Indianapolis where she spent six-seven years focusing on her artwork. Her father John had a travelling agency there. In the 26 November 1916 Indianapolis Star the Gotham Daughters of Indiana's regular meeting (by Harriet Scanland New York NY) featured Theodora as one of its speakers: "Miss Theodora Larsh, painter of miniatures, gave an interestng talk on her arti, which she illustrated with several handsome originals, much to the delight of every one present. She spoke briefly of the origin and history of miniature painting - how the art was used in ancient times both in an illustrative and decorative manner and of the day of its ascendancy. In this last period Holbein, Hilliard, and two Olivers, Cooper, Vandyke and Cosway figured prominently as the greatest artist in this line. The invention of printing, however, brought on a decline, and the invention of photography and the tricks of its trade led to the practice of frauds in this rare and beautiful art which are now being perpetrated on the unsuspecting public. Some of the work of Miss Larsh is now ocupying a place of honor in exhibitions at the Academy of Design in New York and at the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia... then followed a social hour with tea. Every one greeted her neighbor in the good old Indiana fashion and for the time being the hundreds of miles which divided the happy little gathering from the home state were forgotten."

Next, along with her parents she went to live in Chicago where her father was a contractor. Some artistic acknowledgement came to her in that city, but she left on her own to New York to further her artistic career (1913). As you can see above she was living a nice life, married to Francis Dane Chase (1920 in Philadelphia but she often was seen still listed as Theodora Larsh sometimes Theodora Larsh Chase and even Mrs. Francis Dane Chase).

In the January 16, 1921 (Indianapolis Sunday Star) Frieda Klink was voted into the Indiana Artists club (of NY - same as above) and Miss Theodora Larsh was present. In a January 1923 article, the same Harriett Scanland wrote to the Indy Star from New York with an informative piece about Theodora.

-- "Better my best," is the rallying appeal chosen by a popular little miniature artist, one-time Hoosier, Theodora Larsh. It is not that this young miniature portraitist needs any particular impetus - she is an indefatigable worker and exquisite beauty and fine technique of her work is recognized widely. At her attractive studio in Carnegie Hall an interesting commission usually is being executed. Miss Larsh has just completed a miniature portrait of Mrs. W. Avery of San Antonio, Tex, formerly of Indianapolis. At present she is engaged in painting the portraits of Polly Day, one of the reigning beauties in the "Music BOx Revue," and Miss Lois Shore, attired in the costume in which she is appearing in that much talked-of production, "Will Shakespeare." These two portraits will appear in an exhibition of work by Miss Larsh which H. Leiber will open in Indianapolis in a few weeks..... Other portraits by Miss Larsh are appearing in exhibitions of the winter in NY and other cities. She accepted an invitation from the American Federation of Art to exhibit in its rotary, which goes to 20 different cities... Miss Larsh was introduced to her career in Crawfordsville, Ind, just across the street from Wabash College. Very early the child showed a particular fondness for drawing. When the young lady had completed her high school work in Crawforsville, the family moved to Indianapolis and she was sent to Oberlin college, where she did special work. Violet Oakley, who is now doing the frescoing of the new courthouse at Columbus, Ohio was a classmate. In the course of her training in art, Miss Larsh studied at John Herron Art Institute, the Chicago Art Academy and the Art Students' League in NY. Later she went to London, where she did further work with Mme. LaFarge. Before returning to America she also worked for many months in Paris. ... Miss Larsh can claim distinction in another and wholly different line - she is a party in a 50-50 marriage, contracted several years hence. Far be it from her to play the role of the "gimme" wife. Mr. Francis d. Chase, well-known NY Hotel man is the other party concerned in this altogether satisfactory and up-to-the-minute partnership marriage - a plan of marriage that is now being advocated by a group led by Mrs. Rupert Hughes, the wife of the author. "

She did several portraits of family members, including her husband, both grandfathers and others.

It is not believed that she had children and only had one sister, a small family indeed.

Of course, she was a member of several art leagues including the National Association of Women Painters. In 1926, she received the Griffity Prize (for miniatures, her specialty) and for quite sometime was the NY League of Business & Professional Women's director.

Her husband was divorced from Edna Woolman Chase was was the Editor in Chief of Vogue magazine (1914-1952) and he and Edna's daughter was Ilka Chase, an American actress, radio hostess and writer. It is not known the relationship to Ilka, as far as if they were close or not.

Theodora can be found in the Dictionary of Women Artists born before 1900; Who Was Who in American Art and several other biographical listings.
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