Saturday, December 12, 2015

History of Haitian Art

Andre Pierre
Haitian art came into its own and its genesis goes back very far,
well before the emergence of the Haitian people, before the arrival of slave ships and the caravels of Columbus (1492).In the marvelous paintings realized by the Taino Indians on the walls of caves and the colored graphics they made on their naked bodies and the walls of their huts. The painting tradition was consolidated and enriched in the world wind of Saint Domingue with the works of talented Negroes and reached its first blossoming in the newly born Haitian nation under the governments of Christophe, Petion, Boyer and Soulouque with painters such as Thimoleon Dejoie, Numa Desroches, Colbert Lochard, and his son Archibald Lochard. After a difficult period due for the most part to political instability, economic stagnation, the rise of photography and the
introduction of chromolithography and during which such artists as Louis Rigaud, Edward Goldman and Lorvana Pierrot Lagojunis distinguished themselves against great odds, Haitian painting experienced a renewal in the 1930's. With Petion Savain, Georges Ramponneau, Edward Preston, and
Hector Hyppolite
Philome Obin
Antoine Derenoncourt at its core, the "Ecole Indigeniste" was formed which led to the creation of the "Centre d'Art" In 1944, the "Centre d'Art" was created by an American English teacher named Dewitt Peters. He had been sent to Haiti by the U.S Office of Education as an alternative to World War Two military service. Seeing the imaginative works that decorated many Vodou temples, or Ounfo, Peters, also an artist, suspected that the country harbored much talent waiting to be discovered. He resolved to find and promote it. Many artists were then discovered, among them Hector Hyppolite, Philome Obin, Castera Bazile, Rigaud Benoit, Prefete Duffaut, Jacques E. Gourgue, Wilson Bigaud, and Louverture Poisson. Among the non-primitive artists who participated early at the Centre d'Art, it is worth noting the names of Luce Turnier, Max Pinchinat, Luckner Lazard, Elzire Malbranche, and Roland Dorcely.

Prefete Duffaut
Henry Robert Bresil
In 1950, following a disagreement, many artists led by Lucien Price, Max Pinchinat, and Dieudonne Cedor left the Centre d'Art to create the “Foyer des Arts Plastiques". There emerged the "Realisme of Cruaute" so brilliantly illustrated by Cedor, Nehemy Jean, Denis Vergin, and Denis Emile. From the "Foyer des Arts Plastiques emerge the "Galerie Brochette" founded by Dorcely, Cedor, and Lazard. Without breaking completely with l'Indigenisme and the Realisme of Cruaute, Haitian painting became more conscious of purely aesthetic standards took a more intellectual and modern orientation in particular with Spencer Depas, Villard Denis (Davertige), Jacques Gabriel, and Gerard Hyppolite. Rose Marie Desruisseaux got her initiation into painting at the Galerie Brochette. At the Centre d’Art, Andre Pierre and other primitive artists had enhanced the reputation of Haitian art, while Gesner Armand joined the ranks of sophisticated artists. Founded in the early 1960's, Calfou was the last great association of Haitian artists. With Bernard Wah, painting took a decisive turn toward l'Esthetique de la Beaute. This school which is more formal and less socially engaged, made a definitive break with

Levoy Exil
l'Indigenisme. It found its more forceful expression in the works of Bernard Sejourne, Jean Rene Jerome, Emilcar Simil, Jean Pierre Theard, Jean Claude Legagneur, Jean Claude Castera, Phillipe Dodard, and Lyonel
Laurenceau. At the margin of l'Ecole de la Beaute, we should mention such artists as Ronald Mews, Celestin Faustin, Edward Duval Carrie, Tiga, Herve Thelemaque, and Wilfrid Daleus. Of a style that is totally different but catches the attention immediately, the works of Sacha Thebaud, Franck Etienne, and Marlene Phipps are realized in an advanced modern style.


Bernard Sejourne 
During the 60's also Tiga and Maud Guerdes Robard founded the Saint Soleil post naive school of Haitian painting. The School was born when they offered farmers in Soisson-la Montagne, a rural area in Laboule, Port-au-Prince, drawing and painting materials. Out of the movement came such painters as Louisianne St Fleurant, St Jean, Prospere Pierre-Louis, Dieuseul Paul, Levoy Exil and Denis Smith. The movement drew the eye of French author Andre Malraux who dedicated a chaptor to it in his book L'Intemporel. It is worth noting within that trend, Stivenson Magloire work constitutes an incomparable statement of primitive art.


On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake stuck Port-au-Prince and its surrounding area and resulted in mass devastation.The Haitian art world suffered great loss. Museums and art galleries were extensively damaged, among them the Centre d'Art, the Monnin Gallery, and the Musee Nader in Pacot, Port-au-prince.The collection of priceless murals in the Holy Trinity Cathedral were also destroyed. Today the vitality of Haitian art both in Haiti and abroad is an astonishing reality. Today's promising artists are numerous, such as Gregory Vorbe, Pascal Monnin, Albert Desmangles, Carel Blain, Frantz Zephirin, Patrick and marcel Jr Wah, Dominique D. Ambroise, and Fred Thomas, etc. And more than ever its future is assured.

Investing into a collection of your own is easy and affordable. Many galleries and sellers post part of their collection on websites and auction sites like Ebay, Amazon, Etsy etc.  As always, for serious collecting, Provenance (COA) is paramount. We should add that in recent years art works by artists like Hector Hyppolite, Philome Obin, Castera Bazile, Jasmin Joseph, Bernard Sejourne, Lyonel Laurenceau, Jean Claude Legagneur have seen a great increase in their value, some will set you back 100K.

For help or questions do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Antique World famous painting by Hector Hyppolite , Haiti

 Two Priestesses with Vase, ca. 1945 - Size 27.5 X 20.5 Inches (pouces)

This famous and unique painting by the world renown Haitian Master, Hector Hyppolite Sold to a Museum for an undisclosed amount.

Its provenance includes Sotheby's, Christie's, permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution 's Hirshhorn Museum of Sculpture and Garden, exhibitions at the OAS's Museum of the Americas, three top museums in Japan, four in Europe, Harvard Club of Washington, D.C., Embassy of Haiti (DC), official residence of the Haitian Ambassador (Chevy Chase, MD), the home celebrity scholar, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, and Mrs. Marcia L. Dyson, and countless publication features.  

All documents, receipts and photos are available to support the provenance. 
For more info contact Thierry Martineau, terry0001@msn.com or by telephone: (786) 372-0218
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Ce tableau célèbre et unique par l'artiste Haitien de renommée mondiale, Hector Hyppolite est disponible à l'achat.
Sa provenance comprend Sotheby's, Christie's, la collection permanente de la Smithsonian Institution de l 'Hirshhorn Museum of Sculpture et Jardin, expositions au Musée de l'OEA des Amériques, trois grands musées au Japon, quatre en Europe, Harvard Club de Washington, DC, ambassade du Haïti (DC), la résidence officielle de l'ambassadeur d'Haïti (Chevy Chase, MD), le savant célèbre maison, le Dr Michael Eric Dyson, et Mme Marcia L. Dyson, et d'innombrables fonctionnalités de publication.

 
Tous les documents, les recus et des photos sont disponibles pour soutenir la provenance.

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Este cuadro famoso y único por el mundialmente conocido maestro haitiano, Hector Hyppolite está disponible para su compra.

Su procedencia incluye Sotheby's, Christie's, la colección permanente de la Institución Smithsonian 's Hirshhorn Museo de Escultura y Jardín, exposiciones en el Museo de la OEA de las Américas, tres museos más importantes de Japón, cuatro en Europa, Harvard Club de Washington, DC, Embajada de Haití (DC), residencia oficial del Embajador de Haití (Chevy Chase, Maryland), el erudito celebridades casa, el Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, y la Sra. Marcia L. Dyson, y cuenta con un sinnúmero de publicación.
Todos los documentos, recibos y fotos están disponibles para apoyar la procedencia.

Contact Thierry Martineau, terry0001@msn.com or by telephone: (786) 372-0218 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art for Thoughts: Reflexion on Art

Art for Thoughts: Reflexion on Art: "No matter what one wants to make out of it, artists will always be the product of their cultural background and their time. They may be b..."

Reflexion on Art

Philome Obin
The Crucifiction of Charlemagne Peralte
Oil on masonite
By Fred Thomas 01/2006

No matter what one wants to make out of it, artists will always be the product of their cultural background and their time. They may be behind, on the same level with, or in advance of their time, but they remain a product of it just the same. The very fact that paintings are created to be seen, what the viewers or buyers want will always influence artists, unless they are mavericks or trail blazers who are ahead of the game and succeed in imposing their views. By the same token, one critic suggests that “Artists are either innovators or followers.” In the case that such a statement is true, it does not exclude the fact that the imitators can still be original in their own way, since, even while they are following an already established path, they do not systematically or slavishly copy someone else’s style. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being a follower since not everyone is called to be a leader, a theoretician, or revolutionary. The only problem is that, especially in art, one can lag so far behind that the resulting works are deprived of impetus and significance. This reminds me of some contemporary artists who call themselves cubists, impressionists, or surrealists so that they can operate under a certain umbrella without realizing what such labels imply and what are they actually mean in terms of artistic output and characteristics of a particular artistic movement or school. Most of the time it is a gimmick fabricated in order to boost sales or because it is fashionable to claim a style or because it just sounds cute, gives a certain cachet, or because someone else, an art critic or art dealer, had assigned such a label to the artist.
Unfortunately, a great majority of the people who are concerned with art, the public at large, and even the so called artists, do not oftentimes know anything about art. They may have no ideas of how to look at a work of art, what to look for, or how to evaluate it. They are usually so involved into the content, into the subject matter, that they pay little attention or no attention at all to the artist’s style, therefore missing the form and the artist’s feelings and emotions all together. They are conditioned most of the time by the prevailing trend favoring some painters. Therefore, they reason, if a painting is signed by so and so, it must be a masterpiece; it is something to acquire and to swoon over. No wonder that so many clichés are used when most individuals are referring to art.
Francisco Goya - The Shooting of May 3 1808 - 268 × 347 cm
In my opinion, anyone seriously interested in art must take the time to learn art history and study the major artists of the different art movements going from the old masters to the most controversial icons of our time. One must strive to determine the significance of those movements and what makes those artists so unique and important. One must also compare them with known artists, and, in the case of the Haitians, with Haitian artists whose works one is familiar with whether they are contemporary, live in the motherland, in the diaspora.
The Haitian art critics, like art critics from anywhere, on the other hand, also need to criticize properly by broadening their scope, keeping their minds open, and objectively analyzing works of art by stressing the artist’s strengths, shortcomings and weaknesses. It is also incumbent upon them to dissect the work involved, indicating the artists’ personality, upbringing, education, artistic background, and major influences. Further efforts must be made to explain the painters’ style and creativity. This way the non- initiated individual looking at an artwork can start to have a global understanding of art, comprehend what is going on, and know what to look for. Such a person would ultimately be able to discern between garbage and an actual work of art, between impostors and genuine artists.
It is also important that artists be well prepared, master their craft, and exhibit strong confidence for their talents. It is important, however, to explain that one does not have to draw perfectly in order to be a successful painter, even though it can never be stressed enough the importance of good draftsmanship, especially in figurative paintings, which allows the painter to exactly express the vision involved or to render reality. We also know of naive and primitive painters who are famous even though their drawing skills or their mastering of perspective is limited. But those artists are the exceptions rather than the rule. The danger involved is that those artists are limited in their artistic flexibility and sometimes fall into the pitfall of routine by repeating a conventional idiom or mannerism to the point of seeing one of their pictures is tantamount to seeing all of them.
Pablo Picasso - Guernica 1937 - Oil on canvas - 349.3 X 776.6 cm
Personally, I agree with Diego Rivera when he stated that most significant painters are propagandists, because, in my opinion, being an artist suggests also certain responsibilities on the part of the artists toward the community they live in, their country, and mankind in general. One cannot witness injustice, repression, brutality, genocide against a certain ethnic group, or humanity, and remain indifferent about it. Some would say that they are artists and therefore their job is to paint beautiful artwork and not to be involved in politics, to be freedom fighters, or activists. They believe that their main concerns are to remain safely in their ivory tower and deal with aesthetic pursuits. This way they can make the bourgeoisie happy by providing them nice little art pieces to decorate their living rooms and boudoirs, enrich some art dealers, or contribute to keep some institution in place while entire people may be hovering on the brink of self- destruction due to genocide or ecological disasters. It is incumbent, I believe, to anyone who can reach a certain number of people whether through literature, visual arts, speech, or any other means, to use such opportunities to open up their viewers or listeners’
“eyes” to realities and inspire them to take actions. The way things are going right now with Haiti, no one, whether s/he is a pastor, a radio announcer, a teacher, a musician, a singer, or a painter, can claim that politics is not his/her business, can say that his/her job is uniquely to talk about God, to teach math, to sing songs, to play music, to build houses, to draw, or to paint. Everyone needs to give his/her contributions one way or the other and painters, particularly, since art is a universal language that everyone who has eyes to see can see, since art can also denounce social injustice and brutality and show their ugliness, no matter how uncomfortable, how uneasy they can make people feel. Art history is replete with painters who have done just that. As illustration we can list artists like Giotto, Gericault (The Raft of Medusa), Goya (The shooting of May 3, 1808), Picasso (Guernica and Massacre in Korea), Millet (The Gleaners), Diego Rivera ( Murals), Sisquieros, Philome Obin ( Charlemagne Peralt’s Assasination), and many others.

Fred Thomas - On Their Way to Miami
Mixed media on canvas - 36" X 60"
I concede that, in practice, such art pieces, because of their disturbing nature, may not belong to a living room or a bedroom but it certainly can be in books, magazines, CD jackets, video covers, newspapers, public places, museums, lobbies, airports, stadiums, city squares, parks, and the list goes on. Such artists will have to select a meaningful piece and, thanks to progress in reproductive technologies, gets it faithfully reproduced in thousands of copies. Millions of people would see it as opposed to a few people who, because they can afford to buy it, have ipso facto the rights to selfishly confine it to they entourage. The idea is to create significant masterpieces in which people can recognize themselves, like for instance art pieces depicting peasants toiling in their field to extract a meager pittance not enough to survive but stoically keep going because of their unflinching optimism. The artists can certainly use all their talent to show the peasant’s optimism or despair, stoicism, dignity, belief, life style, wisdom, or integrity, even while doing a hard job with little financial reward or social recognition. I gave the example of peasants, but it can also be our factory workers here in the US, our field laborers in Homestead or Immokalee or the hordes of Haitian housekeepers in the hotels along the Florida Keys or Miami Beach. One can just look around, in every part of the mega cities, in the ghettoes, and see the overflowing of loneliness, estrangement and despair. The idea is to paint pictures that reflect our day to day struggles here, in the United States, back in Haiti, or anywhere else on earth, to depict something that mirrors our hope, despair, fears, aspirations, and dreams, in other words, something that is connected to us as people, as an ethnic group sharing the same cultural background. Such paintings can be reproduced by the thousands and be available to everyone, like I mentioned earlier. Therefore, those in the lower class can afford to buy a copy whether framed or not, and display it at home as it is the case for the catholic chromolithographs of St. Jacques representing Ogou Ferraille , Mater Dolores for Erzulie Freda, and many others, which are seen everywhere. Albrech Durer and Rambrant did the same for their work which was known by millions using etching and prints. The originals can still remain within the reach of the riches, the bourgeois, but the work would not be confined uniquely to their houses or cellars. Among other advantages, the masses would have access to the artwork and the artists’ popularity would increase as a result. Through sound management, entrepreneurs, artists, and retailers will make huge profit.

Valcin II
Turbulence en Haiti - Part 1 - 78" X 51"
The artists, then, can free themselves from the unscrupulous art dealers who think more about their profits than promoting the artists and, at the same time, remove art from the hands of the bourgeoisie, while informing and educating the masses through visual experiences. Again those art pieces can be reproduced in books, posters, gicle, billboards, newspapers, magazines, brochures, postcards, and t-shirts, etc. to the point of becoming ubiquitous. As a consequence, it will be quite difficult for one to take a step in any direction without being reminded of the issues at hand. That action, I believe, will put pressure wherever pressures need to be put, in order to bring about public consciousness and foster changes.











By Fred Thomas 01/2006

Link to some of Fred's creations: http://www.martellyartgallery.com/artists/fredthomas.htm

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Within the Integrative Symbolism Concept

My abstract paintings are, before all, about colors, planes, textures, straight edged shapes, and the inclusion of found objects. At first glance, they look like random juxtaposition of small color fields units distinct of each other by their uniqueness. Careful observation, however, reveals in them unity, harmony, and balance, while they play also the role of a powerful medium of mutual communication between the work of art and the viewer. My goals, as an artist, are, foremost, to create order and harmony in a seemingly chaotic or disjointed composition and to foster feelings of hope, stability, happiness, and security. All the elements are, therefore, skillfully combined to create the envisioned effect.

It starts usually with one shape followed by others of different form, color, and texture. I strive, at first, to cover this way the entire canvas, while keeping in mind to incorporate new elements and ideas. The interplay of creative impulses and choice of known formulas provide continuity to a particular painting as related to others of the same category. Subsequently each work exhibits familiar idioms combined with innovative ideas stemming from a common creative pool. Unity is also maintained or suggested through the use of textured surfaces made with palettes knives or the frottis technique.

I, occasionally, manage to add momentum to my works through the use of dripping and
splashing. The idea is to break the monotony and, subsequently, create more dynamism and vitality. My ultimate reward is witnessing the metamorphosis of a mere application of colors and amalgam of disparate objects on a stretched canvas into an exultation of movement and life.
The very fact that each project starts with no preconceived ideas or figurative concerns makes room for a great deal of improvisation and experimentation with all that can suggest of trials and errors. It is almost like a jazz solo session where the musician begins with an idea and exploits it to the extreme according to the amount of talent, skills, and determination involved. The only difference is that I can willfully break the spell, step back, make appropriate adjustments, or even start over, until I am fully satisfied or completely out of ideas.

Seen from such an angle, Integrative Symbolism stands also as a quest for perfection through exploration and risk taking. The modus operendi is simple: elements are weighted and compared in their interconnectedness and also as part of a whole. It happens so often that one unit or one color plane prevent a successful outcome. The tour de force is sometimes just to integrate the clashing elements into the picture without producing a disharmonious effect.
If the planes, in their mainly square and rectangular shapes, suggest mathematical order and strong structures, other elements, however, such as colors, refer, to a certain extent, to the human dimension with its references to the soul and our existence. Each found object, needless to say, is nothing but a reminder of human presence in the universe and of cultures as they gravitate between the future and the past.


Colors are arranged as panels set at different distance, thus creating an illusion of depth with darker colors at the end and the brighter ones in the front. The result is the interplay of kinetic planes receding and moving forth depending of the audience’s degree of involvement or participation in this joyful farandole of colors and shapes. At this point, each collage plays the role of focus point preventing escape or the jump into a trance like state.
I use collage as a means to enhance the telluric effect of my compositions. This is to say that the colorist in me is no less concerned with something deeper than mere appearance. This creates a tension between aesthetic means used and the final objective. The former helps to grab attention while the latter leads to contemplation, humility, and submission vis-à-vis the compelling force of nature.
The iconography used is simple. Knotted string, meshed wires, and bizarre-looking found metal pieces allows me to allude to universal symbols such as spirals, zigzags, hour glass, crowns, triangle, and many others, whose meanings are accessible to everyone, since there refer to general notions of life, time, stability, love, infinity, etc.
Figurative objects and colors, used as symbols or mere decoration, have this in common that they distract onlookers, preventing them to focus on what is essential. At this point they are a mal nécessaire (necessary evil) allowing a step forward in the direction of personal enlightenment.
This certainly explains my choice of specific objects, or if you like, my preference for amorphous, strange looking, and non figurative metal shapes. In addition to add to the aesthetic value of the composition and the human presence, it stresses the purity and integrity of the abstraction. This is to me an important dialectical stand because I have seen so many beautiful paintings being wasted since the artist could not resist the temptation to include into them figurative motifs, or any other recognizable objects, in order to satisfy a lack of artistic determination, aesthetic insights, or a need to please ill informed prospective buyers.

I am contemplating a series of works deprived of all unnecessary elements while still remained becoming. The aim is not to reinvent the wheel neither to create an array of pieces deriving from conceptual or poor art, but rather to create something à la fois deep, simple, and personal, meaning an artwork simultaneously universal and unique making room for idiosyncrasy, theoretical beliefs, and ethnical characteristics while rejecting déjà-vu type conceptual approach.
My occasional use of burlap and stitched together pieces of rag is more about experiencing with different types of surface and textures as well as drawing upon the connotation of humility and, subsequently, the tacit symbolism suggested by the choice of such media. Even though the use of burlap has recently become fashionable in contemporary art, crafts, and decoration, it remains essentially associated with goods packaging or cheaply available material useful mostly to the poor.

My drive and steadfastness, however, would amount to nothing if my work does not reflect also my personality and cultural background. In order words how to absorb all the available

knowledge associated with art while remaining original and producing influential work? Such concern, I must confess, has nothing to do with personal pride but rather with a morbid aversion for stultification and stagnation as well as commitment to excellence. The question is: What do we go after primitivism? Where do we go after L’Ecole de la Beauté? Are we condemned to beat the bushes by echoing whatever is being promoted by the establishment even if it means forsaking our own traditions and our own roots? Are we forced to chase our own shadow while indulging in overweening arrogance? Or is it time to head our boat to new direction?

Our only way out, I believe, is to join the universal art discourse and forcefully claim our contributions, efforts, and tendencies as illustrated in our visual artistic outputs. The goal is to acquire the necessary expertise and confidence in order to gain and maintain our place in the arena of global art scene.



By Fred Thomas  

Link to some of Fred's creations: http://www.martellyartgallery.com/artists/fredthomas.htm