Bernard Chaet has died

Bernard Chaet, the retired chair of the Yale Art Department and author of the influential 1970 book “The Art of Drawing,” died Tuesday, Oct. 16, at age 88.

He grew up in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood and studied at the Museum School and Tufts University. He found inspiration in Boston Expressionism, which can be seen even in his recent oil paintings like “Yellow Sea” from 1998 to 2004 (pictured above). He is often cited locally for his memory of Willem de Kooning telling him that when de Kooning and Jackson Pollock discovered Boston Expressionist Hyman Bloom’s fiery kinetic paintings of chandeliers and Christmas trees at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1942, they thought him the first Abstract Expressionist.

Chaet began spending summers on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in the early 1950s (he’s a relative of a close friend of mine there), and after his retirement from Yale in 1990, he often split his years between Connecticut and there, frequently painting its rugged shore.

Pictured above: Chaet’s “Yellow Sea,” 1998-2004, oil on canvas.

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