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World-Renown Jazz Photographer Featured at Calif. Couple's Art Show



They met a gallery owner in New Orleans and told her what they were looking for. The next day, the gallery owner called and said she'd take them to Leonard's house and get them the photo.

"The lady had a cab ready for us and we went," Chandler said.

They arrived at Leonard's suburban home on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

As they spoke to Leonard's assistant, down the stairs came the legendary photographer, Chandler said.

"Just being in his house it was relaxing, he made you relaxed. It was incredible to just look at him," Chandler said.

"I knew just being there I would try and get him to come here," he said.

But first things first.

"They allowed us to go through the catalog and pick out the Lena Horne I wanted," Chandler said of the photo that, along with her autograph, are framed and hang in the Chandler's entryway.

A year after their encounter, Leonard's New Orleans house, along with most of his photo collection, were underwater. "We were able to do about 75 percent of our business before the hurricane hit," Chandler said.

Following the hurricane, Leonard ended up in the Astrodome with other evacuees, Chandler said. He hasn't been able to return permanently to New Orleans, instead

living in Palm Springs with family, Chandler said.

Despite the disaster, the Chandlers kept in touch with Leonard by phone and eventually got confirmation that he could make it.

In the two years since meeting Leonard, the Vallejo couple has been scooping up his work. They have collected about 15 to 20 pieces, which they are selling for about $1,100 for a 12x14 print, Chandler said.

The Chandlers have run their art gallery for 20 years.

"Our families have always had a great interest on both sides," Chandler said.

"We have some of the finest art in the state, right here," Chandler said as he stood in his living room, with walls covered in fine paintings.

Chandler recently retired from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vallejo as a respiratory care practitioner. He also works at Alta Bates' pulmonary care lab. His wife is a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District.

Their passion, however, is art. They work with high-end customers and often meet privately with them in their home.

"People contact me and I can move whatever they want in a flash," Chandler said. "We deal with people from all walks of life."

Once a woman came in for a meeting who had just won $10 million in the lottery.

"She went on the computer and pointed to a painting and said, 'I want this,'" Chandler said.

It's the famous artists coming to their home that really sets them apart from other brokers.


   







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