Chester Leich, 89, a nationally known painter and etcher whose graphic work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in this country, died Nov. 9 at Circle Terrace Hospital in Alexandria after a heart attack.
He had already established a name for himself as an artist when he came to Washington after the outbreak of World War II to volunteer his services as a cartographer with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. He remained there until 1956.
Mr. Leich had etchings in the permanent collections in the National Collection of Fine Arts, the Library of Congress, the Society of American Etchers, the National Academy of Design and other libraries and museums.
He also had exhibited at the Society of Washington Printmakers, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and in Paris, London, Stockholm and Toyko. Many of his prints are in private collections.
Mr. Leich was born in Evansville, Ind. He spent much of his youth in Europe where he studied art and then graphic techniques in Italy and Germany, traveling broadly during school vacations.
After returning to this country, he had studios in Evansville, Chicago, New York and Leonis, N.J., before coming here. His early works were in oil but he later concentrated on print making, using etching and drypoint techniques.
Some of his prints were included in traveling exhibits. He prepared at set of educational demonstration exhibits on the different ways of making prints.
These panels are in the collection of the Boston Public Library and more recently were displayed in Bethesda and Bethehem, Conn. he also prepared educational panels showing the techniques used in doing oil paintings.
Mr. Leich produced many landscapes. He also often included the people he observed on the streets and in the parks. Some of his sketches illustrated literary subjects. He received a number of awards for his work.
He is survived by his wife, Jean Graham Townley Leich, and a daughter, Mary Townley Leich, both of the home in Arlington.