Jean, Felix (1929–   )


4. Rara
c1972 (24x16)

   To my new–to–Haitian art eyes, in 1972, the galleries seemed to hold a lot of paintings similar to this one — market and other crowd scenes. The best–known 'crowd artist' is Casimir. Among the many also–rans, Felix Jean ranks near the top; others who work in the genre include Ronald Aly, René Haspil, Menes Fils–Aimé, Jean Pierre, and Piracasso (who is also very good).
   Jean also does village, market, historical, and religious scenes. One of his paintings long decorated the cartons in which Haïti's Barbancourt sold its rhum, the best in the world.

     Jean, Jean–Baptiste (1953–2005)


58. 'La maison en feu'
c1978 (24x36)



173. '… Vertriers'
1985 (24x30)

   Jean–Baptiste Jean, another student of Philomé Obin, is among my favorite narrative artists.
  An eyewitness to La maison en feu ('house on fire') told me this painting is a good impression of the scene — of dwellers trying frantically to save their few possessions. The house itself, once the mansion of a wealthy Cap–Haitien family, had been abandoned to squatters. They cooked their meals over braziers filled with charcoal, wood, and paper products. What was bound to happen, happened….
  Vertriers, near le Cap, was the site of an 1803 battle in which ragtag Haitian troops thrashed the remnants of an army Bonaparte had sent to reimpose slavery. The ex–slaves' victory ensured Haïti's freedom. It also caused Napoleon to abandon hopes of an American empire: he soon agreed to the 'Louisiana Purchase.' The nascent United States doubled its territory, came to believe in 'manifest destiny,' took huge chunks out of Mexico, and ended up with the 48 contiguous states as they are today.
  The president who dedicated the Vertriers monument was Paul Magliore, one of the lucky ones. Fêted by Eisenhower at the White House in 1954, he was not murdered, but merely deposed and sent into exile (in 1956). His lovely home, high above Petionville, housed a small art gallery as recently as 1989.
   The house that burned down and the monument depicted in Jean's 'Vertriers' are pictured at right.

 





 

 

 

     Jean, Néhemy (1931–    )


231. Seamstresses
1961 (32x28)

   

    Néhemy Jean joined the Centre d'Art as a teenager and by 1950 was secretary of the Haitian
Artists Association. In the mid–'50s he studied at the Art Students League and Columbia University
in New York City. He then went to Brazil on a UNESCO grant for further study.
   Though he has produced little since the 1960s, Néhemy is an important figure in Haitian art history:

l He painted most of the murals that adorn the former François Duvalier (and now Toussaint Loverture
Port–au–Prince) International Airport — works that have served as an introduction to Haitian art for
myriads of visitors to the island nation.

l L'Atelier, which he opened in the late 1960s, was the first 'Afro–Haitian' owned gallery in the country.
(Haitians of Near Eastern descent were long — and may still be — leaders in marketing the country's art.)

l He influenced — and at L'Atelier he trained — scores of other painters, including such major artists
as Carlo Jean–Jacques and Yves Michaud.


     (See Louines Mentor for an account of 'an evening with Néhemy.')

   

  Jean–Claude, Victor   (   –   )


218. Little Angel
c2000 (20x24)
Nothing known; just liked it.
   Jean–Claude has appeared in two on–line galleries since mid–2000. He's an interesting naïf who may have been influenced by Pierre–Louis Riche. (More recent Jean–Claude works, of very fat people, tend to confirm this guess.)

 

     Jean–Louis, Eric (1957–   )


43. Woman in Forest_
c1976 (12x24)

   Eric Jean–Louis, a native of Jerémie on Haïti's long southern peninsula, is known especially for his detailed nature scenes. He's been dubbed a 'sophisticated naïf.'

 

           

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