Doris Chase video and art collection, 1948-2004

Overview of the Collection

Chase, Doris, 1923-2008
Doris Chase video and art collection
1948-2004 (inclusive)
4 posters, 8 oversized art prints and paintings, 167 black and white prints, 114 color prints, 56 negatives, 4 postcards, and 4 slides
Collection Number
Photographs and biographical features documenting the work of Seattle artist Doris Chase
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Access restricted. For more information, contact Special Collections.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Doris Chase was born in Seattle, Washington in 1923. She studied architecture at the University of Washington between 1941 and 1943. In 1950, after the birth of her two children and after her husband was paralyzed by polio, she began to teach painting as a way of combating the overwhelming difficulties confronting her. Working in Seattle through the fifties and the sixties, she established herself as a recognized painter. By 1962, at a time when the art world in the United States was almost exclusively male, she had her first New York City gallery show. During the sixties she turned to sculpture. In order to create large-scale wood pieces, she found it necessary to work collaboratively with a wide range of skilled craftsmen. This experience proved essential when, in the late sixties, she began collaborating with the dancer Mary Staton to create dance sculpture - sculpture designed for interaction with dancers in performance. It was during these collaborations that Chase began to use film, first as a means of documentation and eventually as an integral artistic element.

Through the seventies, Chase created a number of dance/sculpture films, placing her at the front of contemporary avant-garde movements. After coming to New York, she was encouraged by the video artist Nam June Paik to explore video art. Her works in this medium have been shown widely in festivals, screenings, and exhibits worldwide, and have been collected by museum, libraries, and archives. During the seventies Chase also produced a number of videos for children including Sculpture for Children, The Emperor's New Clothes, and How Do You Feel? that explore themes of self-esteem, body awareness, and movement. She also began to use the medium of video to explore the subject of women from a feminist point of view in documentaries such as Lies, Masks, Windows, Skyfish, Electra Tries to Speak, Travels in the Combat Zone, and Thulani, which comprise the "Concept Series". By the mid-eighties, Chase achieved a breakthrough into mainstream television with the "By Herself" series, in which she introduced the subject matter of older women in society to a popular audience. Chase also produced and directed works in the series, such as Table for One, Dear Papa, A Dancer, Glass Curtain, and Sophie. She died in Seattle in December 2008.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Artwork includes prints of variations on multi-colored discs, a water color of a city sky line, a design for sculpture, and test work for Dance Frame video. Photographs include images of many of Chase's paintings and early work with sculpture. Also includes a set of biographical features detailing Chase's artistic career and inventories detailing the numerous repositories with holdings from her collections.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Doris Chase retains copyright to her graphic and moving image materials (film and videotape).

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The current photograph collection, Photo Acc. 2003-035, was received together, on May 16th, May 23, 2003, and June 12th with the materials that form Accession No. 2842-004 in the Manuscripts Collection. Please refer to the appropriate manuscripts finding aids to use those collections. Another portion of the accession was received on July 7, 2004. The video recordings, photographs, and other materials were transferred to the Visual Materials Collection on June 30, 2003. Videos were transferred to PH0985 April, 2020.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Doris Chase, May 16, 2003, May 23, 2003, June 12th, 2003, and July 7, 2004.

Processing Note


Separated Materials

Material Described Separately:

45 videorecordings removed from collection and added to Doris Chase Films, Audio and Videotapes (PH0985)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 46
Table For One
Advertisement for Museum of Modern Art sale and rental copies with Geraldine Page
1 47
the Chelsea
Advertisement for Musuem of Modern Art veiwing on November 11th.
1 48
the Chelsea
Advertisement for Musuem of Modern Art veiwing on November 11th.
1 49
Projects: Video XVI
Advertisement for Video Gallery viewing of Jonathan and the Rockets
circa 1970s-1980s
1 50
Films On Outdoor Sculpture
Advertisement for April 23rd screening of Doris Chase's Full Circle at the School of Visual Arts Amphitheatre in New York City.

Art WorkReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 51
City Sky Line Watercolor Painting
1 52
Design for Glass Sculpture
2 53
Dance Frame
Test work for video
2 54
Rocking Form
2 55
Moon Disc
2 56
Silver Disc
2 57
Sun Disc
2 58
Ying Disc

PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 59-143
Oil Paintings
Images that document Doris Chase's work with oil painting 1948-1963, including 44 color prints, 31 b/w prints, 8 negatives, and 2 postcards of portraits and lanscapes. Many of the color prints include page number citations for inclusion in Patricia Failing's "Doris Chase, Artist In Motion: From Painting and Sculpture to Video Art." Also includes three clippings that feature Chase oil paintings displayed in the Northwest Plywood House exhibit at the Seattle Worlds Fair from the August 1962 edition of American Home Magazine.
1/2 144-172
Watercolor Paintings
Images of Doris Chase's work with watercolor and sumi ink from the early 1960's, including 17 color prints, 4 b/w prints, and 8 negatives of landscape paintings. Includes the cover page from a May 12th, 1963 copy of the Asahi Journal, featuring one of Chase's untitled watercolor and sumi ink works.
1/3 173-206
Cement Paintings
Images of Doris Chase's work with cement from 1959-1965 in home patios, exterior panels, and textural painting, including 10 color prints, 10 b/w prints, 10 negatives, and 4 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" color slides. Also includes clippings of her work with cement from a 1961 article in "Architectural Craftsman."
1/4 207-229
Large Steel Sculptures
Images that document Doris Chase's work with large steel sculptures, including 3 color prints, 14 b/w contact sheets, 5 b/w prints, and 1 negative of the process involved in the creation and installation of sculptures in Osaka, Japan in 1970 (permanently housed in the Museum of Modern Art in Kobe) and Kerry Park, Seattle, Washington during the 1960's.Mary Randlett, photographer.
ca. 1960's-1970
1/5 230-240
Small Steel Sculptures
Photographs of Doris Chase's work with smaller steel sculptures, including 1 color print and 10 b/w prints.Nathan Rabin, photographer.
1/6 241-293
Small Wood Sculptures
Images of Doris Chase's work in the 1960's with small wooden sculptures, including 4 color prints, 38 b/w prints, and 11 negatives. Includes a publicity shot of the the artist and her work in laminated fir, entitled "Moveable Form."Photographed by: Mary Randlett, Nathan Rabin, Jane Flanders, Elizabeth Blaine.
2/1 294-300
Large Wood Sculptures
Images of Doris Chase's studio and work with large wooden sculptures, including 6 b/w prints and 1 negative.Mary Randlett, photographer.
2/2 301-317
Painted Wood Sculptures
Images of Doris Chase's work with paint and wood objects, including 1 color print, 9 b/w prints, and 7 negatives of laminated oak boxes and sculptures.
ca. 1965
2/3 318-325
Early Wood Sculptures
Photographs of Doris Chases' early work with wood sculptures, including 8 b/w prints of pieces, such as "Moving Form" for the College Club in Seattle, Washington and Doris working on a wood sculpture in November 1966.Photographed by: Mary Randlett, Elizabeth Blaine, Art Lind Studio.
2/4 326-356
Glass Sculptures
Photographs of Doris Chase's more recent work with glass, including 31 color prints of sculptures that incorporate colored glass spheres with painted wood bases.
2/5 357-365
Lucite Sculptures
Images of Doris Chase's work with lucite and plexiglass sculptures during the late 1960's, including 6 b/w prints, 1 b/w contact print sheet, and 2 postcards that document pieces entitled, "Nesting Forms" and "Moveable Semi-Circles." Includes publicity for Ruth White Gallery viewing of "Nesting Forms" in New York City on October 3rd, 1970.
ca. 1960's-1970
2/6 366-401
Sculpture for Children
Images of "Sculpture for Change" and "Forms to Change" from Doris Chase's work with flexible eurathane objects entitled "Sculpture for Children", including 3 color prints, 22 b/w prints, 10 negatives, and 1 drawing. Includes a number of duplicate prints of the Anderson children playing on a number of different untitled pieces from the collection, a template for a 1970 publicity photograph of "Forms to Change", and a blueprint sketch of an untitled piece.Edward Peterson, photographer.
2/7 402-403
Dance Sculpture
Images documenting Doris Chase's collaboration with dancer and choreographer, Mary Staton, to create theatre performances that merge kinetic sculptures and dance, including 1 b/w print and 1 oversize b/w print contact sheet. Includes a publicity flyer detailing Mary Staton's career up through the early 1970's
2/8 406
"Changing Form"
11 x 14 b/w print of Doris Chase and "Changing Form" sculpture during construction in July 1969.Mary Randlett, photographer.
July 1969

Reference MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Career Survey: Painting and Sculpture
Includes reviews, articles, and exhibition advertisements on Chase's painting and sculpting career.
Career Survey: Film and Video
Includes reviews, articles, and exhibition advertisements on Chase's work with video sculpture, as well as inventories and descriptions of her films and videos.
Inventories and catalog records representing materials from Chase's professional career currently held at a number of repositories. The majority of the inventories are organized by format and include the current location.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Artists--United States
  • Kinetic sculpture
  • Moving Image Collections (University of Washington)
  • Sculptors--United States
  • Video art
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Chase, Doris, 1923-2008--Archives