(b Philadelphia, PA, June 26, 1935).
African American sculptor and writer. She was educated at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, graduating in 1957, and at Yale University, New Haven, CT, where she studied with Josef Albers from 1958 to 1960. After gaining her MFA at Yale in 1960, she lived in Paris with her husband, Marc Riboud (b 1923), a photo-journalist. Their extensive travels in Africa and Asia profoundly influenced Chase-Riboud’s work. Her sculptures, which combine faceted, geometric bronze forms with braided silk and wool fibres, are often seen as an investigation of opposites—hardness and softness, masculinity and femininity—and how these qualities intersect. However, there are also striking connections apparent between her best-known sculptures (those of the 1970s) and African masks and artefacts. Her trait of disguising the plinth of her free-standing sculptures with hanging fibres, as for example in Confessions for Myself (1972; Berkeley, U. CA, A. Mus.), made in black bronze and black wool, gives another dimension to her work: behind the hanging braids and fibrous strands is a sense of something hidden—a supernatural element more obviously associated with the ritual and magic of Africa and of other non-Western cultures. A leading African-American artist, Chase-Riboud also became known as a writer, publishing poetry and a novel....