“For me the feeling of being inspired is the best and it
comes through an urging of spirit. What a joy it is to hold
raw material in my hands and let creation unfold. Then, when
another discovers something issued unconsciously within the
work and responds, there’s the magic of the unknown.”
– Chestee Harrington, Spiritual Expressionist
In a career that spans six decades, Chestee Harrington has created an extraordinary body of work that captures Louisiana’s landscapes and cultures, its people and their stories. She describes her genre as “spiritual expressionism.”
She works in multiple media, including her signature wood polychromatic bas relief, as well as oil painting, fired clay and bronze sculpture, and printmaking, including hand-pulled block prints, lithographs and monotypes, and a process she created: embossed drawing.
The neighborhood was a true American melting pot, a
diverse blend of cultures: African, French, Native
American, German, Jews, Italian, Spanish, and
Scotch-Irish. Its distinctive folk architecture — and rich
history of storytelling — would become a strong foundation
in Chestee’s life as an artist.
Her earliest efforts at drawing, at about age 4, had a
sophisticated bent. She wanted to capture the elusive
qualities of light.
She continued to draw and began to paint. On family trips to New Orleans each spring and fall, she discovered a wider world of art. She visited museums and the gallery of the painter Knute Heldner, which was tucked into a French Quarter carriageway. She visited City Park, where she saw the life-size bronze sculptures of Enrique Alférez.
Herschel opened trunk of his Ford Mustang, revealing a
pile of woodblocks. He began to explain the printing
process when Chestee reached for one and cut him off in
Since making that discovery, Chestee has been featured in
more than 50 one-woman shows and 40 group exhibits. She is
featured in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s
Who of American Women. She also is included in The
National Museum for Women in the Arts’ online Clara®
Other influences were her father and artists Ella
Fontenot Keane, Harry Worthman and Sister Mary Baptist