Bernard Chaet was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924. He studied at the Boston Museum School with Karl Zerbe from 1942 to 1945. Chaet also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in Boston and received an Honorary Degree of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
In 1951 Chaet became a Professor of Drawing at Yale University Art School where he was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award and became a Professor Emeritus. In 1962 he was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. In 1967 he received a Sabbatical Grant from the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities and in 1981 he was awarded the Hassam and Speicher Fund Purchase from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Most recently he has lived in New Haven, Connecticut.