Haïti, Fontaine de Couleurs

Courtesy of Galerie d'Art Nader

La beauté est plurielle, Haïti est multiple et la peinture haïtienne est métisse. On s'interroge en vain quant au phénomène qui donne lieu à cette magnifique émergence créatrice que constitue notre peinture. Toujours est-il qu'elle semble naître de ce mariage hasardeux et mystique d'Europe et d'Afrique, de divin et d'animal, d'anecdotique et d'essentiel, de plaisir et de souffrance, de naïf et de moderne. Le bébé né de ces unions diverses- unanimement salué, faut-il rappeler Breton et Malraux?- est devenu un jeune homme singulier et vigoureux dont d'aucuns se plaisent déjà à raconter l'histoire qui est simplement la nôtre. Qui nous dira l'éblouissement de Dewitt Peters face à cette ardeur? Et la fondation du Centre d'Art? Qui soulignera pour nous l'uppercut que fut et est l'école du Cap? Les scènes vaudou qui désormais nous hantent à jamais? Et les fresques de l'église Sainte Trinité? Et les modernes, les contemporains? L'histoire est trop contée déjà et presque galvaudée. Alors taisons-nous! Abreuvons-nous à cette fontaine de couleurs et alimentons-la, si les dieux nous le permettent encore un peu.

Harry Jacques Arijac
Gonaives, 8-11-1937

Architect, he worked with Sacha Thébaud who initiated him to the ancient technique of encaustics (mix of wax, turpentine and pigments) in which he is now a master.

Gesner Armand
Croix-des-Bouquets, 6-11-1936

Initiated to drawing and watercolor at the "Centre d'Art", he received a scholarship from the French government in 1960 and lived in Paris for two years, then returned to Croix-des-Bouquets. Known for his multicolored pigeons.

Albott Bonhomme
Pétion-Ville, 1963

As a young man, he works with his father as a fisherman and as a farmer. The sea and the luxuriant nature mark him in an indelible way and color all his work. His sea scenes of this first period are as famous as the work about the birds that he undertakes in 1990. Extolled worldwide, he is particularly adulated in France and Japan where the Yakkaichi Museum dedicated him an exhibition in 1995.

Claude Dambreville
Port-au-Prince, 1934

Begins his training at the "Centre d'Art" and finishes it with a course by mail provided by the ABC School of Paris. His painting and his writing alternately occupy him. Technician and expert color artist of international fame, his brilliant market scenes are always remembered.

Albert Desmangles
Port-au-Prince, 1957

As a child, he draws figures in dust. After a short career as a businessman, he studies art with his uncle, a renowned sculptor. His passion for ethnology and his relationships with accomplished painters (Séjourné, Jérôme...) influence his creations where matter seems to come from light.

Abner Dubic
Leogane, 11-11-44

Self-taught, he expresses his view of daily life, from which disappear all bitterness, ugliness and anguish. His festive countryside scenes with clear and shimmering colors, and his acute sense of detail which is harmoniously inserted in the whole, would suffice to give the "Haitian Primitive" all its glory. André Malraux takes notice of his work, and an exhibition of his paintings is organized in Paris in 1975, that makes him a unanimously recognized artist.

Préfète Duffaut
Jacmel, 1-1-1923

After his graduation from Primary school, his father teaches him shipbuilding. That makes him sail very often along Haitian coasts. His meeting with Rigaud Benoit and the American artist painter Krauss, prompt him to join the "Centre d'Art". One recalls his detailed paintings of his home town of Jacmel where he started, his contribution to the mural paintings of the Holy Trinity Episcopalian Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, and the exacerbated onirism in all his works.

Jean-Bernard Etienne
Gonaives, 1952

Shows since early childhood a true passion for painting. This painter is the child of inspiration combined with innate gifts. Recognized as an expressionist, his children portraits will certainly be preserved for posterity.

Jean-Claude (Tiga) Garoute
Port-au-Prince, 12-9-1935

The very bright and gifted child already announced the great artist who he is now. Founding member of the Poto-Mitan, of the Museum of Ceramics and of Saint-Soleil. Exploration and authenticity are the keywords that fit this very special child of Haitian Art, internationally distinguished, whose roots plunge deeply in a Haitian vernacular magic.

Louis Georges

Since early childhood, this painter manifests a great taste for shapes and colors, and he takes to painting by himself. One recalls particularly his still-life paintings and his hyper-realistic scenes of country life. His acute sense of chromatics quickly prompted the admiration of his peers. Numerous exhibitions.

Jacques Geslin
Jacmel, 3-20-54

At the Beaux-Arts, he frequents the studios of painters Jérôme, Dupoux and Simil during 6 years. The dream of a friendly jungle haunts him. He reproduces it in his works, dictated by the imaginary, with a lot of finesse and dexterity. One sees parrots, goats, and horses in a luxuriant vegetation. His work is shown in great collections around the world.

Jacques E. Gourgues
Port-au-Prince, 1931-1996

Trained at the "Centre d'Art" then at the "Foyer des Arts Plastiques" he is without question one of the prominent figures of Haitian painting. The technical expertise, acquired with time, reinforces, as needed, the dazzling "brutality" of his first paintings. People and things pop out of his works which belie a breathtaking virtuosity. Appreciated everywhere, his works, more exhibited abroad than in Haiti, command very high prices.

Calixte Henri

After a 4 year stay in the "Centre d'Art", this man obsessed with impressionism and cubism, abandons his brushes and adopts the razor blade and later the knife. His flat semi-abstracts, tinted of pink, yellow, and blue, complement the solidity of his lines and unveil a rich and complex interior life.

Lionel Laurenceau
Port-au-Prince, 1942

Fine tunes the training of the Beaux-Arts at the ABC School of Paris. In 1965, he wins his first award at the New York World Fair. At Laval University of Quebec, he has been pursuing, for almost 30 years, studies about human cerebral structures, research that feeds his pictorial universe in which Haitian types are depicted. It is impossible not to feel called by his quest of the Truth, a constant collision between hot and cold, emotion and logic, red and blue.

Luckner Lazard
Port-au-Prince, 1938

Begins a very complete training at the "Centre d'Art", then starts a cycle of studying trips to Paris, Rome, Madrid, and Mexico. Grown up, he becomes a professional painter and moves to the USA where he continues his work.

Hervé Lebreton
Port-au-Prince, 3-27-41

Begins his training at the Beaux-Arts and finishes it at Paris and in Chile. Very talented singer and writer, this painter has a passion for analytic psychology. This colors his work with the force of evidence. Everything seems to be coming out of a cosmic surrealistic dream.

Jean-Claude Legagneur
Port-au-Prince, 1947

Works with famous artists like Bernard Wah, Raphaël Denis, Davertige, and Luckner Lazard, then continues his studies in the USA. Back home, he happily joins "l'Ecole de la Beauté" (The School of Beauty) with Jean-René Jérôme and Bernard Séjourné. His work is full of an intense sincerity and belongs to the irrepressible.

Franck Louissaint
Aquin, 1949

Begins to paint alone before he feels the need to train in the "Centre d'Art". He cultivates an hyper-realistic manner that he soon teaches at the Centre. His street and countryside scenes are famous and one owes him the cross-over between the "Naive" and the "Modern".

Franck Louissaint
Aquin, 1949

Begins to paint alone before he feels the need to train in the "Centre d'Art". He cultivates an hyper-realistic manner that he soon teaches at the Centre. His street and countryside scenes are famous and one owes him the cross-over between the "Naive" and the "Modern".

Ernst Louizor
Port-au-Prince, 10-16-1938

At the Beaux-Arts, Georges Ramponneau teaches him drawing, composition and perspective. A huge visual memory and a remarkable sharpness of sight are at the service of his very personal style. He is the archetypical impressionist of Haitian painting.

Stivenson Magloire
Port-au-Prince, 1963-1994

Born of a mother who was a painter, this self-taught artist is almost immediately recognized by his peers. He works with Tiga and exhibits in the USA, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Life, alas, did not give him the opportunity to carry to its term a work of promising originality.

Michèle Manuel
Port-au-Prince, 1933

The "Centre d'Art", then the workplace of the painter Cervoni in Puerto Rico, and later, the University of Rochester in New York, take care of her pictorial training. This woman painter, whose work is considered emblematic enough to have one of her paintings, "Le Marché" (The Market) reproduced as a postal stamp in 1981, works with three of her fellow painters in her studio of the Tête de l'Eau.

Alix Roy
Port-au-Prince, 4-8-1930

Gives himself teachers as prestigious as Luce Turnier, Maurice Borno, and Lucien Price, before he goes to New York to improve his art. It is the childhood that reigns in this universe, at once ingenious and ironic, and whose drawing especially enhanced by color, strengthens and moves.

Jean Adrien Seïde
Les Cayes, 11-18-1956

This painter whose painting has such a very characteristic texture receives his early artistic education at the "Académie des Arts Plastiques", in 1973. His first exhibition in 1977, at the Nader's Art Gallery is a real success and the start of a long series of art exhibitions throughout the world.

Bernard Séjourné
Port-au-Prince, 1947 - 1994

After an exceptionally protected childhood, he enrolls at the Beaux-Arts, and there he studies sculpture. He also enters the universe of dance and theater. His first paintings have painfully obsessional aspects, then his art flourishes and becomes serene. He was a high admirer of womanhood. "The Moulton Rothschild wine of 1986" bears his name.

Galland Sémérand
Cap Haitien, 10-9-1953

Grows in Port-au-Prince and thus does not belong to the School of the North. He claims not to belong to any particular school. An architecture student, the historical monuments and the "Gingerbread" houses already fascinate him, and his work, with great accuracy, expresses with a touch of sweet nolstagy the splendor and the precious courtesy of an idyllic Haiti.

Jean-Louis Senatus
Leogane, 8-16-1949

Starts to paint around 18. He receives his artistic education at the "Foyer des Arts Plastiques". Renowned above all for his finely, almost magically, executed camaieux. Many exhibitions in Europe, the USA, and Haiti.

Jean-Pierre Théard
Aquin, 5-4-1949

Architect by profession, he travels to Mexico where he is very much impressed by this discipline in general and by the work of Diego Riviera in particular. On his return home he starts painting and develops an interesting stylistic mingling of cubism and impressionism before undertaking to paint in his so personal extraordinary realistic style. By 1981, he opens his own gallery.

Buffon Thermidor
Port-au-Prince, 1963 - 1994

From his years of discretion he assiduously attends Philomé Obin's Atelier. The so very peculiar architecture of his hometown constantly feeds his inspiration. As a matter of fact, he is a past master at painting these colonial houses with balconies of woodworking laces. He is one of the greatest representatives of the Ecole du Cap.

Frantz Zéphirin
Cap Haitien, 12-17-1968

Begins painting with Antoine Obin but frees himself quite early from the influence of the School of the North to reach his own style. His creations reflect an imagination that is perpetually delirious. His animals with sharp, contrasted, shining tones, impress one in an indelible way.