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--> Category: The History of Haitian Art - Medalia Art 

Whichever their choice of style, the Haitian artist will always represent a folk art expression of spontaneity and simplicity.
Many historians date the beginning of Haitian art with the opening of the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, by DeWitt Peters in 1944. However, artistic activity has always held a place in Haitian history. As early as 1807, Henri Christophe encouraged the development of art in the new independent black country. In 1816, Alexandre Petion helped a french artist to establish an art school in Port-au-Prince. Although some smaller schools arose during those early years, the emphasis of the art was on religion and portraiture.

When DeWitt Peters opened the Centre de Arte, he created an environment in which talented artists could express themselves, and young artists could develop their skills. In this way he provided exhibition space as well as instruction space.

Amazingly, the founders of the Centre de Arte uncovered a wealth of talent that would forever affect the history of the art movement in Haiti. The first painter to gain recognition was Hector Hyppolite. He was a voodoo priest whose innate ability made him one of the greatest natural painters of modern times. Those early painters, known as the first generation of artists, included the now popular, Philome Obin, Rigaud Benoit, Castera Bazile and Wilson Bigaud. These men were completely artistically untrained. They came to their canvasses as bookkeepers, truck drivers, and houseboys. Their subjects were most often what they perceived in their everyday mundane existence and what they learned from their mythical religion, voodoo Although they came from simple backgrounds, their paintings were full of passion and color. They managed to integrate what they saw, felt and believed and express it with intensity of emotion and a childlike innocence. These men had no formal education, no visual training and basically dev
eloped their styles in isolation from the rest of the art world.

The first generation inspired a second generation of painters. These new painters had the good Fortuné to benefit from the numerous art schools that developed in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien. As the art world discovered the wonders of the naive Haitian art and the artists were exposed to different artistic styles, each generation of Haitian artist become more sophisticated and trained. Some of the third and fourth generation of artists still use what is known as the naive or primitive original style in their works, while others employ new materials and styles.

Whichever their choice of style, the Haitian artist will always represent a folk art expression of spontaneity and simplicity.

The History of Haitian Art
by Medalia Art
6 Fox Road
East Setauket, NY 11733
(800) 984-2065
(631) 246-5527
(631) 751-8727 - Fax
Medalia Art
[email protected]



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