Felix, LaFortuné (1933–
Felix is a latter–day star,
with a better claim to being 'the new Hyppolite'
than most other nominees. He shares with the legend both birth in the Artibonite and a similar life–story.
was a farmer and a houngan well into his 40s. In 1976 Pierre Monosiet
— a major figure in Haitian art who was once assistant to DeWitt Peters — spotted decorations Felix had painted on the walls of
his ounfò, or vodou temple; three decades earlier, ounfò
paintings had led Peters himself to Hyppolite.
Monosiet soon provided Felix with art supplies and
introduced him to the art world — just as Peters had done
themes — and occasional syncretistic vodou
and Christian subjects — predominate in Felix's paintings.
works have been featured in books and magazines and have been highly prized
commercialism has reared its head. Many of the artist's later works
have been hurried. Worse yet, he appears to have 'back–dated' some
recent pieces to make it seem they were executed in his artistic prime.
None of that
seems to be true of these three works. All appear to be dated honestly; and that
from 1980 shows Felix at his very best.
171. Cérémonie vodou
206. Cérémonie vodou
( – )
81. 'Carnaval champrêtre 78'
Nothing known: just liked it.
bought this painting
at Flamingo, a curious little Cap–Haitien gallery and atelier run by a
Frenchman. From its style, I
assume the artist is a northerner and may have studied or worked at some
point with Charles
October 2000 I spotted two works by Françilien in the 'Haitian
Painting' section of e-bay's auction — so this is not the
only work the artist has ever sold.
87. Nude and Owl
painter whose works continue to be quite popular, François worked mostly as a
sculptor until the mid– or late 1970s. (Two unrelated gallery owners
taken credit for persuading François to switch from sculpting to
art became steadily
more sophisticated; much of his later output was surrealistic.
colored birds, rendered in great detail, appear in many of François's works, as do bare–breasted
Enfants du soleil
is a conceit that François painted, in slightly different ways,
many times — always well.
pairing of Mother and Child is among the most endearing human
images. In François's rendering the mother is strong and protective.
(Note the way her headpiece shields the child). She is a bit distant —
but vigilant. The
infant is vulnerable and dependent, but also beginning to explore….
(The 'Mother' may be or
have been a real person: she appeared in many of François's later paintings.)
211. 'Enfants du soleil'
220. Mother and Child
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