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336 Warren Street
March/April 2010

Haitian Paintings

The Nicole Fiacco Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition and sale of a private collection of Haitian paintings assembled between 1972 and the mid-1990s.  Paintings by artists including Andre Pierre (d.), Wilson Bigaud (b. 1931), Andre Normil (b. 1934) and Prefete Duffaut (b. 1923), Jean-Baptiste Jean (d.), Alexandre Gregoire (d.), Vanel Pierre and Charles Saul (b. 1943) will be on view.

Haitian painting is characterized by self-taught artists who depict scenes of daily life on the Island.  Artists often painted figures that populated idealized landscapes full of lush vegetation, market scenes bursting with fruit, weddings and ceremony, colonial architecture, voodoo spirits and mountain villages.  The use of vibrant, primary colors, not found in nature, coupled with flat and distorted spatial arrangements are also commonly found in Haitian pictures.  Working with limited resources, artists frequently used found or recycled materials, even flour sacks, as in the case of Vanel Pierre’s Garden of Eden painting that will be on view.  Artists also hand carved beautiful frames for their paintings, several of these can be seen in the exhibition.

The convergence of at least two religious influences resulted in works blending iconography of both Catholicism and Voodoo religions.  For example, Andre Pierre (1914-2005) was a Voodoo priest and was considered a religious painter, repeatedly depicting spirits such as the Sirene, or Mermaid.  The Garden of Eden is also a subject that was painted time and again and can be seen in the works of Charles Saul and Vanel Pierre.

In 1944, American artist Dewitt Peters opened the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The arts center played a key role in developing an international interest in Haitian art by giving Haitian artists a place to exhibit their work and by offering resources such as art supplies and art classes.  Since then, works by Haitian artists including Andre Pierre, Wilson Bigaud and Prefete Duffaut have been included in major museum collections such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum.

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