Theme/Style California Modernism, African-American subjects, portraits
Media Oils, murals, wood sculptures
Artistic Focus A self-taught artist and generally a painter on canvas, Ralph Chessé explored many styles of Modernist painting, and was strongly motivated by color. Primarily in the 1940’s, Chessé painted African American figures in scenes recalling his boyhood in New Orleans, in socially realist depictions of dock workers, and in religious themed motifs derived from the Bible. During World War II, he created paintings of the shipyards in the Bay Area.
• Ralph Chessé was born in New Orleans and
moved to Southern California in 1923. He headed north to the San Francisco
Bay Area in the early 1930s, where he painted and worked as a professional
puppeteer, an activity he mastered and continued throughout his life.
The Gallery proudly represents the Estate of Ralph Chessé.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic references are available upon request.
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