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Paintings by Haitian Artists

We are pleased to offer a recently purchased small and choice group of paintings by Haitian artists.  It has been said that Haiti is a country of 5 million people with 8 million artists!  These paintings, however, are by a few of the important and better-known painters, all of whom were basically self-taught and some of whom are no longer with us.  These paintings were acquired in the 1970's, some from the artists themselves, contemporary to the time of their creation.   Collection provenance will be provided to buyers.

George Auguste

Henry Robert Bresil

Raymond Dorleans

St. Pierre Toussaint


Short Chronology/History of Haitian Painting
(from Indigo Arts)


Without pretending to a comprehensive synopsis of modern Haitian art history, some other landmark events in modern Haitian art history are as follows:
1945 - The visits to Haiti by French surrealist Andre Breton with Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam, each of whom bought several paintings by Hector Hyppolite. While somewhat self-servingly claiming the Haitian artists as fellow surrealists, Breton did a geat deal to legitimize and promote Haitian art in Europe and Latin America. That same year the Pan American Union hosted the first museum show of Haitian art in the United States.
1947 - The first purchase of a work by a Haitian naivé painter by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Museum president René d'Harnoncourt had first taken notice of the Haitian work in 1944.
1948-1949 - The painting of the magnificent murals at Port-au-Prince's Episcopal cathedral of Sainte Trinité by Wilson Bigaud, Philome Obin, Gabriel Leveque, Castera Bazile and others, directed by Peters and the late American artist/poet/critic Selden Rodman.


The early 1950's saw the emergence of the uniquely Haitian art form of steel drum sculpture. A blacksmith named George Liautaud hammered out wrought-iron grave crosses for a living until Peters and others encouraged him to try his hand at figurative sculpture. His students and followers, including today's masters, Serge Jolimeau and Gabriel Bien-Aimé, further refined the art of hammering sculpture out of recycled oil drums.
1957 - The accession to power of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. For the next decade he and his tonton macoutes terrorized Haiti. Most tourists and buyers of Haitian art stayed away. In spite of this several fresh artists emerged, including André Pierre, Gerard Valcin and Salnave Philippe-Auguste.
1972 - The opening of the Musée d'Art Haitien in Port-au-Prince, the first museum devoted to Haitian Art. It was dedicated tthe memory of Dewitt Peters, who had died in 1966. The death of Papa Doc Duvalier and the succession of his marginally less repressive son "Baby Doc" encouraged a new era of tourism to Haiti and greater exposure for Haitian artists.
1975 - The visit of French writer, critic and Minister of Culture, André Malraux, to the mystical artists' community of Saint-Soleil. He became a champion of this group which included Prosper Pierre-Louis, Dieuseul Paul and Louisiane St. Fleurant. Another artist who began to work in this period was the ever-playful pastry chef turned painter, Gerard Fortuné.


The 1980's brought the wider recognition of the art of the sequinned "voodoo flag" or vodou banner (dwapo in Kreyol). Previously regarded as a relatively obscure liturgical art it came into its own with such innovative artists as the late Antoine Oleyant and Josef Oldof Pierre. These and more traditional artists such as Clotaire Bazile, Sylva Joseph, and Yves Telemac were celebrated in the seminal 1995 touring exhibition The Sacred Arts of Haitan Vodou organized by UCLA's Fowler Museum of Cultural History. In the last decade the innovation has been led by woman sequin artists [such] as Myrlande Constant and the late Amina Simeon.
1986 - The departure from Haiti of the dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier which unleashed forces in Haitian art as well as society which have yet to settle down.

The 1990's brought the inspiring rise of slum priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency in Haiti's first free election in 1991, followed by his overthrow by a military junta. His reinstallation by the US and the UN in 1994, and his recent ignominious fall are the latest chapters in this period of turmoil. The recent floods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are only compounding the misery of many of the Haitian people.