“Chef Gogh”

The short time slot between our move from Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1999 and our move to Paris, France in 2001, had Vicky & me living in Evansville, Indiana. We bought a wonderful house in the city’s downtown residential area where stately Victorian homes lined charming, shady streets.

Our house was actually one of the younger structures built in the 1920’s. It was a Mediterannean styled home with a barrel tile roof. Previous owners had given it a modern facelift and added many updates.

The kitchen in this house was a great space. I believe it was actually a sun porch in the original design and there were windows that wrapped around the north, east and south sides of the room which allowed an abundance of light in. The ceiling was decorative pressed tin and the two walls in the room were painted lemon yellow and cobalt blue. The room was full of energy and it was a great space to be in – even on overcast days.

The previous owners also created a butler’s pantry which was an adjoining room from the kitchen. It was a fairly large space and was, at one time, the original kitchen. There was a large, industrial sink in front of a large glass block window and several large, stainless steel shelving units were positioned on opposite walls – all of which were modern updates. The walls were the same lemon yellow from the kitchen with a small, strange, organic shape of cobalt blue swishswashingly bisecting the upper end of a corner wall. The pressed tin ceiling also continued into the butler’s pantry.

Beyond this little splash accent of blue paint, the room needed a focal point. I figured a painting would be great but struggled with the idea of what kind of painting.

“Chef Gogh” came to me in a dream. I painted the painting and made numerous changes while photographing the evolution as I worked. I don’t even know if the image below is of the final version…

I framed “Chef Gogh” in a large, ornate and decorative (and somewhat tacky) frame; I hung him in the butler’s pantry where he ruled until he was part of my one man show at Penny Lane, a funky little coffeehouse down the street. I originally wasn’t going to include him in the show but there was a large, built-in bookcase at Penny Lane and I knew “Chef Gogh” would fit perfectly in the space above it.

I had a lot of fun painting “Chef Gogh”. He went through a lot of stages. At one time, I even had glued plastic googly (?) eyes onto his face.

Tim Piazza was a then co-owner of Penny Lane and he purchased the painting a few weeks after the show came down. When Tim came to my house to pick up “Chef Gogh” from his perch in the butler’s pantry, I suddenly realized I was going to miss him [Chef Gogh] tremendously. It was a sad moment in my life…

“Chef Gogh”, by Robert Leedy, 2001, acylic on canvas, Collection of Mr. Tim Piazza, Evansville, Indiana
“Chef Gogh”,
by Robert Leedy, 2001,
acylic on canvas,
Collection of Mr. Tim Piazza, Evansville, Indiana

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