Arts and Crafts- Haitian Art History At A Glance


Haitian painting coalesced slowly, its birth lost in the mists of time, well before the emergence of the Haitian people, well before the slave ships, much before the vessels of Columbus, in the enchanting engravings created by the Taino Indians on the walls of the caves and in the colored markings that decorated their marked bodies and huts. It was strengthened and enriched in the furnace of Santo Domingo by the blacks, to recognize its first flowering in the newborn Haitian Nation, under the governments of Christophe, Petion, Boyer and Soulouque, with Denis, Thimoleon Dejoie, Numa Deroches, Colbert Lochard, his son Archibald Lochard.

After a period of difficulty due in large part to political instability, the economic depression, the advent of photography and the introduction of religious chromolithography, and where, despite everything, artists such as Louis Rigaud, Edouard Goldman, and Lorvana Pierrot Lagojanis distinguished themselves, Haitian painting returns in the course of the 1930s.Around Petion Savain, Georges Ramponeau, Edouard Preston, Antoinne Derennoncourt, took form The " Ecole Indigeniste" wich was to drive the creation of the "Centre d'Art", thanks to an initiative of Dewitt Peters, an American artist who came to Haiti to teach English in 1943.

The "Centre d'Art" was opened on May 14, 1944. In 1945, following the succes of a large popular exhibition in Havana, primitive painting, trimphs over the world. Numerous artists, are discovered, such as Hector Hyppolite, Philome Obin, Castera Bazile, Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Louverture Poisson.In the meantime, non primitive painting continues,to florish at the "Centre d'Art". Among these non-primitive artists who break through at this time, it is important to note Luce Turnier, Lucien Price, Antonio Joseph, Max Pinchinat, Luckner Lazare , Elzire Malbranche, Cedor.

In 1950, following a different misfortune, numerous artists, under the guidance of Lucien Price, Max pinchinnat, and Cedor seperate from the "Centre d'Art and found the "Foyer des Arts Plastiques". It is from there that would spring forth the "Realism of Cruelty" as social painting bearing the stamp of the marvelous, brillantly illustrated by Nehemy Jean, Denis Vergin, Denis Emile, Charles Obas, and Cedor.

From the "Foyer des Arts Plastiques" came the "Brochette Gallery", founded by Lazare, Cedor, Dorcely. Without completely breaking with "Indigenism" and the "Realism of Cruelty, painting wich had become more conscious of properly esthetic values turned toward a much more modern and intellectual expression, especially with Spencer Depas, Villard Denis (Davertige), Jacques gabriel, and Gerard Hyppolite. It is at the "Brochette Gallery" that Rosemarie Desruisseaux made her first steps in painting.

Gesner Armand
At the "Centre d'Art" Andre Pierre and other primitive artists had reinforced the good name of Haitian Art, while Gesner Armand was joining the ranks of the "Sophisticates".

Founded in the early sixties, "Calfou" was the last great association of Haitian artists. With Bernard Wah, painting took a decisive turn that opened it to the " Ecole de La Beauté" . This much more formal and less socially engaged vision of art marked a definitive rupture with "Indigenism". The "Ecole de la Beauté" found its strongest expression in the work of Bernard Sejouné, Jean René Jérome, Simil, Jean Pierre Theard, Carol Théard, Jean Claude Legagneur, and Philippe Dodard.

Frank Louissaint
On the fringe of the "Ecole de la Beauté", the vigorous and varied works of Ronald Mevs, Fravange Valcin, Celestin Faustin, and Jean Claude Garoute (Tiga) offered themselves as so many openings, as well as those of Sacha Thebaud, Frank Louissaint, Marylene Phipps, and Jean Claude Garoute (Tiga), of a very advanced modernism with multiple tendencies, touching sometimes on hyperrealism, geometric abstraction, or infomal expressionism.

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