Famous Haitian Artists (part 1)

In the world of art and creativity, Haitian artists have been able to gain a remarkable reputation for their unique style and creativity. From paintings to sculptures and everything in between, Haitian art is known for its vivid colors, captivating patterns, and expressive nature.

Here we highlight some of the most famous Haitian artists who have made a significant impact on the art world:

  1. Jean-Michel Basquiat: Born in Brooklyn to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat rose to fame in the 1980s as a graffiti artist before transitioning to the fine art world. He is known for his unique style that blends street art and neo-expressionism, and his works often explore themes of race, identity, and power. Basquiat’s paintings have sold for millions of dollars, and he remains a revered figure in the art world even decades after his death.
  2. Edouard Duval-Carrié: Born in Haiti and based in Miami, Duval-Carrié is known for his stunning mixed media pieces that blend traditional Haitian art forms with contemporary influences. His works often explore themes of history, spirituality, and mythology, and have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.
    Original art work by Edouard Duval Carrie
  3. Préfète Duffaut: Considered one of the pioneers of Haitian art, Duffaut’s works are characterized by their bright colors and intricate patterns. He often depicted everyday scenes and activities, as well as Haitian folklore and voodoo practices. His works are highly sought after by collectors and have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.
    Préfète Duffaut was a major figure in the world of Haitian painting, renowned for his unique style and imaginative cityscapes. Born on January 1st, 1923 in Jacmel, Duffaut was an unhappy child who found solace in drawing from a young age. Despite working with his father in boat building, his talent for art drew him to the Centre D'Art in 1948, where he abandoned his previous profession to pursue his passion. Duffaut's work was often described as "primitive" or "naive," but it was his intricate mountainous landscapes with winding roads that truly set him apart. His talent was recognized on a global scale, and his mural at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince stands as a testament to his immense skill. He was also a favorite of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who collected several of his paintings. Duffaut's work can be found in numerous major museums around the world, including The Museum Of Modern Art in New York and The Museum of Modern Art in Brooklyn. He was a "must-have" for serious Haitian art collectors, and his contribution to the art world is immeasurable. Throughout his career spanning over 70 years, Duffaut painted an immense body of work that was exhibited in galleries and museums across the globe, including the Musée du College Saint-Pierre in Port-au-Prince, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Davenport Museum, the Waterloo Museum, and the MoMa of New York. Duffaut's passion for painting was inspired by a vision of the Virgin Mary, who appeared to him on a mountaintop and commanded him to paint his imaginary city. He moved with his family to the Carrefour-Feuilles neighborhood in Port-au-Prince in the 1960s, where he continued to paint his beloved cityscapes as well as mystical pieces. Préfète Duffaut passed away on October 6, 2012, at the age of 89. His work, characterized by its intricate detail and devotion to Vodou spirits, continues to be exhibited and collected by many prominent collectors and museums worldwide, including the Musee d'Art Nader and the Musee d'Art Haitien in Haiti, the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, the Waterloo Museum of Art in Waterloo, Iowa, the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee. As a master of popular painting in the 1940s, Duffaut's fantastical depictions of urban life were groundbreaking and influential. He expanded the scope of Latin American art and continues to inspire artists worldwide.
  4. Philomé Obin: Another pioneer of Haitian art, Obin’s works often depicted rural life and peasant culture in Haiti. His paintings are highly detailed and vibrant, and he often used historical events as inspiration for his works. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
  5. Hervé Télémaque: Born in Haiti and based in France, Télémaque’s works often explore themes of identity, memory, and culture. He is known for his use of bold colors and abstract forms, and his works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
  6. Bernard Sejourne: Sejourne’s art has also been collected by prestigious institutions and individuals, such as the Baroness de Rothschild’s collection in France. In fact, the Baroness commissioned Sejourne to create an original piece for her collection of about 42 artworks by renowned artists such as Picasso, Miro, Braque, Dali, Kandinsky, Chagall, Warhol, Soulages, and others who had created pieces for the Mouton Rothschild wine label.
  7. Jean Claude Legagneur: Legagneur’s most significant achievements was the commission to create a 65-foot mural in JFK International Airport’s Terminal 9 in New York City. Titled “The Universal Party,” the mural is a celebration of diversity and human unity. Another major accomplishment was his 2004 collection “Faces of Freedom,” which explored the theme of independence through a series of portraits of Haitian historical figures.
    Jean claude legagneur
  8. Mario Benjamin: Has exhibited at major institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, the ARCO gallery in Madrid, and the AMA gallery in Haiti. He has also participated in numerous biennales, including those in Havana and Venice.
  9. Wilson Bigaud: His canvas entitled Paradise won second prize at an International Exhibition in Washington in 1950 and is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York . In the same year Bigaud painted his masterpiece, The Wedding at Cana. In 1951 , he worked on the walls of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Port au Prince.
  10. Audes Saul: After moving to Port-au-Prince, Audes began working with the Galerie Issa and quickly gained recognition for his vibrant and energetic paintings. In 1975, some of his works were selected by Jean Marie Drot and André Malraux for exhibition in Paris and Auxerre, France, marking a turning point in his career.
    audes saul

These are just a few of the many talented Haitian artists who have made a significant impact on the art world. Their works serve as a testament to the vibrancy and creativity of Haitian culture, and their legacies will continue to inspire future generations of artists for years to come.