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Cutting Squash (Leah Chase)

Title
Leah Chase
Artist
Gustave Blache III, born 1977
Sitter
Leah Chase, 06 Jan 1923 - 01 Jun 2019
Date
2010
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on panel
Dimensions
Stretcher: 21.6 x 25.4cm (8 1/2 x 10")
Frame: 37.1 x 43.8 x 3.8cm (14 5/8 x 17 1/4 x 1 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the artist in honor of Mr. Richard C. Colton, Jr.
Restrictions & Rights
© Gustave Blache III
Object number
C/NPG.2011.144
Culture
Leah Chase: American\African American
Exhibition Label
Leah Chase (1923–2019), dubbed the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” was a restaurateur and world- renowned chef, who championed civil rights. In 1945, after marrying jazz musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., she joined the family restaurant business in New Orleans. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant became a gathering spot for Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent civil rights activists in the 1960s. “In my dining room, we changed the course of America over a bowl of gumbo and some fried chicken,” Chase recalled. In addition to her belief in food’s ability to bring people together, she was a pious Catholic, feeling that “everything [God] throws at you is testing your strength.” Later in her life, she advocated for the arts, an endeavor she considered an important part of her legacy. The artist Gustave Blache III, who often depicts people at work, documented Chase in the kitchen for a series of portraits.
Leah Chase (1923–2019), apodada la “reina de la cocina criolla de Luisiana”, fue restauradora y chef de renombre internacional, además de defensora de los derechos civiles. En 1945 se casó con el músico de jazz Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr. y comenzó a trabajar en su restaurante familiar en Nueva Orleans. El restaurante Dooky Chase’s se convirtió en punto de reunión de Martin Luther King Jr. y otros prominentes activistas de los derechos civiles en la década de 1960. “En mi comedor cambiamos el curso de Estados Unidos mientras comíamos gumbo y pollo frito”, recordó Chase. Además de su fe en el poder unificador de la comida, era católica devota; decía que “todo lo que [Dios] pone en tu camino es una prueba de tu fortaleza”. Más tarde fue propulsora de las artes, labor que consideraba parte importante de su legado. El artista Gustave Blache III, quien suele presentar a sus sujetos trabajando, realizó una serie de retratos que documentan a Chase en la cocina.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\Louisiana\Orleans\New Orleans