In 1954, when Barbara Chase was fifteen years old, The Museum of Modern Art acquired her woodcut Reba for its permanent collection. Since then, the artist has produced an amazing body of work in many different mediums and genres. The unique presence of her sculpture defies classification within the realm of modernist art. Although honored by many exhibitions and commissions in the United States and Europe, this highly individualistic artist was never part of the putative mainstream. At a time when cool distance in Minimal sculpture and bland adulation of popular culture or conceptual dematerialization seemed to occupy the attention of the art world, Chase-Riboud produced maximal sculpture that is passionately involved with the manual process of sculpturing. The ultimate purpose of her art is the creation of objects with inherent mystery and sensuous beauty. It is informed by ancient culture, by the art of Africa--especially Egypt--and imperial China, as well as by modernist sculptors such as Alberto Giacometti, David Smith, Isamu Noguchi, and Germaine Richier.
Encouraged by her artistically inclined parents and growing up in a home with lots of books, Barbara Chase began taking art classes at the Fletcher Memorial Art School and the Philadelphia Museum of Art when she was seven. Later, she enrolled at the Tyler School of Art and Design ( Temple University), where she received strict academic training in painting (anatomy, perspective, glazing, etc.), the var