Gerard Paul was born in 1943 in Port-au-Prince. M'te gain-in six ans l'heu papa moin mouri. - I was six when my father died, the artist tells us. He was rescued by his godmother, a lady who lived on the meager rent of some modest houses near the General Hospital. After eleven years of schooling, he was apprenticed as a carpenter and mason. It was at this time that Paul first picked up a paintbrush. His first canvas was the side of a building. At nineteen, he'd become a foreman working for the Ashton family. In 1963 the Ashton family leased their home to the German Ambassador and Paul stayed on as the estate factotum.
Gerard painted his first picture in 1965, using some scrap acrylic paint from the tool shed. It caught the fancy of Mrs. Malsy-Minsk, wife of the Ambassador, and she became his patron. On her return from a trip to Europe, she presented him with some art materials, including an excellent set of watercolors. Thereafter followed a period of development. Hungry for subjects, Paul went from wedding to baptism to communion, sketching and coloring, giving his works to the brides and parents, filling up the spaces on the embassy walls. In 1972, Michel Monnin went to a reception at the embassy. Impressed with Paul's work, Monnin asked him to come to work for the Gallery Monnin.
The practiced eyes of collectors quickly noted Paul's work. Madame Du Cluzeau, owner of the Galerie Seraphine in Paris, organized an exhibition of his works and asked for exclusive French rights.
The dark influence of voodoo is manifest in nearly all of his work. Maitresse Danton, St. Jacques Majeur, Ogoun Feraille, Erzulie, Baron Samedi, these are his muses, ancient and exigent.
1973 - Galerie Serphine, Paris, France
1974 - Galerie Illien, Atlanta, Georgia
1974 - Flagg Tanning Corp., Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1974 - Galerie Monnin, New York, New York
1974 - College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California
1975 - Gallery Anderson & Hopkins, Arlington, Virginia
1975 - Institut Francais, Houston, Texas
1975 - Centre Martiniquais d'Animation Culturelle, Fort-de-France, Martinique
1982 - International Art Expo, New York, NY
1982 - Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
1988 - Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France
Books and Catalogues
1965 - The Miracle of Haitian Art, pp. 8, 88-89
1982 - Art Expo: New York, p. 213
1982 - Three Generations of Haitian Art, (Cat. #88, 89)
1988 - HAITI Art Naif - Art Vaudou, 228-229
1988 - Where Art is Joy, pp. 131, 160, 211
Milwaukee Art Center