This collection is made up of artworks by renowned painters such as Bernard Séjourné, Jean Baptiste Rosvelt, Wilson Bigaud, Stivenson Magloire, Préfète Duffaut, Alix Roy, Dambreville and Dieudonné Cédor. It also includes paintings from the school of Saint-Soleil. This “school of painting” benefited from the support of André Malraux, a great connoisseur and admirer of Haitian art.
For half a century, Haitian painters have been Haiti’s best ambassadors. While the international press speaks only of poverty and ecological disaster, these painters represent a colourful Haitian culture, marked by mysticism and naivety. “Haiti, only people of painters” as André Malraux said, exalts this positive, cultural and artistic contribution that each country, however poor, can make to the rest of the world. Other famous and art-savvy men like André Breton and Aimé Césaire celebrated Haitian art as a unique phenomenon in the world and this uniqueness is still unexplained. Occupying an essential place in the country’s culture, Haitian painting is above all colourful painting, representing scenes of life from yesterday and today. Known for its naive style, Haitian art has many aspects in common with African painting and is characterised by the simplicity of shapes and the multitude of colours.
In the 1950s, Haitian painting evolved and diversified, opening up to different forms of expression, but always favoring colours and lines. Several workshops were emerging in different parts of the territory. Naive Haitian art then spread throughout the world: the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired paintings by the most fashionable artists while Time Magazine reproduced Haitian frescoes in its editions.
The term “naive” then describes a figurative style dominated by solid colors and popular subjects (street scenes, bustling markets, animal fights, etc.). It applies less to the technique of artists who have totally mastered their art. In the 1960s, buyers snapped up the works of naive Haitians who became sought-after items on the art market. This brutal commercial interest, which caused the emergence of a veritable craft industry of naive paintings, led artists like the community of Saint Soleil to return to their sources by placing voodoo culture at the heart of their approach.
In 1992, he held his first major exhibition in Haiti at a large gallery in Petionville in the heights of Port au Prince. The entire exhibit was acquired by a collector. In June 2001, he traveled to France and was invited by the Louvre as well as by the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. He also exhibited in Nevers and visited Giverny, the homeland of Monet, invited by the permanent secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, Mr. Arnaud d’Hauterives. In 2004, he retired to his native province, working in the fields and consolidating a development center, his main concern.
A sensual painting, with erotic accents, which blends in the same voluptuous color as the history of his country: voodoo, religion, history, life, death, betrayal, passion… A palette sometimes exacerbated, feeling softened by the omnipresence of sensuality, whether it be woman, tree, fruit or fabric. His momentum, his stimulation, the Haitian artist draws them from the vision of his future. The present is no longer topical once evoked and a man cannot live without a dream. He is an amazing creator of dreamlike images of surrealism. It was a resounding success which earned him exhibitions in Latin America and Europe.
A bit of history…
At nightfall on December 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus, after having discovered the Bahamas archipelago and Cuba, saw the veiled contours of a large “land” that he presumed to be the island that the Indians had described to him from Cuba. The next day, he had the anchor dropped at the bottom of a marvellous roadstead which he called the bay of Môle Saint Nicolas. Seduced by the captivating beauty of the island whose sites reminded him of the landscapes of Castile, he called this island Hispaniola. Haiti was divided into six provinces or small kingdoms, inhabited by the Indians who welcomed the Spaniards. It wasn’t long before they discovered this peaceful population through the hard labour of mining. “
Each painting by Croshen, Préfète Duffaut, and Stevenson Magloire has a 22carat gold painted wooden frame.