Haitian art acts simultaneously as historical document and as a statement of cultural identity. Image and Culture: Haitian Paintings from the Art Museum Collection presents an overview of 20th century Haitian art and explores the different styles, techniques, and subject matter that, while varied, cannot be separated from the country’s history, culture, religion, or its people.
One of the earliest artists included in this exhibition, Savain Petion (1906-1973), was painting long before the popular movement in the 1940s. In 1943, American watercolorist DeWitt Peters came to Haiti to teach English. Upon discovering the vibrant art community, he developed the idea of opening an academy where artists could be formally taught. This was a pivotal moment in Haitian art history and with the opening of the Centre d’Art in 1944, artists like Antonio Joseph (b. 1921) and Préfete Duffaut (b. 1923) were able to take advantage of formal art training. Another artist, Alexandre Gregoire (1922-2001), began his artistic career as a houngan or voodoo priest. Art and the voodoo religion have always been interconnected, with houngans creating painted and decorated flags, masks and other accouterments to accompany spiritual celebrations and ceremonies. Today, artists like Edouard Duval-Carrie (b. 1954) are recognized on an international level.
Funded in part by UW Art Museum Gala Funds
Fernand Pierre (Haitian, 1919-2002), Jungle, not dated, oil, 23-7/8 x 35-7/8 inches, gift of Mr. Richard S. Plotka, University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1984.208