The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. recently announced the acquisition of Gustave Blache III’s (MFA 2000 Illustration as Visual Essay) oil painting, Self Portrait with Checkered Scarf, for its permanent collection. The painting is one of 10 self-portraits from the 2008 exhibition “In Shadow,” in which Blache explored the effects of color, light and shadow on the human face.
“This series presented me with the challenge of exploring the deeper depths of the shadow with my face as the backdrop,” Blache told The Louisiana Weekly. “I found that the shadow, whether on objects or the human figure, is overlooked for its role when processing the overall form… I wanted to shift that focus and use light to set up its counterpart, the shadow. Almost like giving your talented background singer a solo on stage.”
New Orleans native Blache is no stranger to the Smithsonian. His iconic painting Cutting Squash, a portrait of legendary chef and Dooky Chase Restaurant owner Leah Chase, was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 2011 and placed in the National Portrait Gallery. Blanche’s oil paintings have also been exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Island Weiss Gallery, Woodard Gallery and Cole Pratt Gallery.