Barbara Chase-Riboud, Vitreous painting on glass, 8 x10”
Barbara Chase-Riboud was born on June 26, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Vivian and Charles Chase. She was an only child. During her childhood, she became involved in many aspects of the arts. As early as five years of age, she began taking dance lessons, which were followed by piano and art lessons. At the age of eight, she won a prize for an art piece she constructed, after studying sculpture and ceramic at Fletcher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Barbara went on to study at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art until 1954. At the age of fifteen, she won an award from Seventeen magazine for a print, later purchased by the Museum of Modern Art. Chase earned BFA from Tyler School at Temple University in 1957. She was awarded with the Purchase Prize from Philadelphia Art Alliance, and first prize in the National College Board Art Contest from Mademoiselle magazine. Chase studied abroad for a year under a John Hay Whitney Fountain Fellowship. In Rome, she made her first bronze pieces. In Cairo, she learned of non-European art, which she had never been exposed to. Upon her return, Barbara began to study at Yale University to obtain her M.F.A. She married French photographer, Mark Riboud, on December 25, 1961, in Mexico. Traveling with her husband, Barbara was the first American woman to visit the People’s Republic of China after the Revolution in 1949.
Throughout the 1970s, her art pieces won several awards and were exhibited in museums in the United States and Europe. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s first book of poems, From Memphis to Peking, was published in 1974. She completed her first novel, Sally Hemings, based on a slave girl who was a mistress to President Thomas Jefferson in 1979; Her second novel, Valide, was published in the same year. She released her second book of poems, Love Perfecting, and her third novel, Echo of Lions in 1980. Barbara Chase-Riboud was the fourth annual Artist in Residence at Pasadena College in California, where she lectured and produced sculptures in 1990. She continues to enrich African-American culture with her artworks in Paris, as did famous artists of yesterday.