Photograph of artist in profile holding up a marionette puppet of a bee wearing a plaid button-down shirt and a beige baseball cap. On the right side of the image is a blue and white print of Coit Tower and on the left is a close up of a colorful mural of children playing, which was painted at Coit Tower. Both artworks were created by the artist holding the puppet, Ralph Chessé.
16 May - 18 August 2024
Jewett Gallery - Lower Level
Koret Auditorium
Koret Lobby
Main Library

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Contact Telephone
Contact Email

Ralph Chessé was born in 1900, the literal beginning of the 20th century, in New Orleans. He died at 91, just shy of a full hundred, and the turn of the millennium. The bulk of his life was spent in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his artistic endeavors— painting, sculpture and notably, marionette production and performance—reflected numerous touchstones of the Bay Area’s cultural and social life, from WPA, theater, television and rock and roll. At every turn, his life was fueled by creative endeavors, exploring different styles of art, as well as theatrical pursuits. He has a notable mural in Coit Tower and worked for the rights of artists. His expressive, exquisitely carved puppets enacted everything from Shakespeare’s tragedies to the animal kingdom educator Brother Buzz, the main character of a beloved children's show that ran from 1953-1969 on mainstream television and was syndicated nationally. At every turn, Chessé’s life and work continue to offer a wonderful world of surprises.