Léontis (also spelled Léontus), a first–generation artist, did a fine Annunciation
Episcopal Cathedral. He was known especially for his
sensitive and detailed renderings of birds. He was not the first Haitian
with such an interest: John James (née Jean–Jacques) Audubon, the
great American nautralist and orinthologist, was born in Haïti.
I commissioned this work from the artist, an exceedingly nice man, in mid–1985 — but it did not come to me easily. Early in 1986 the broker who'd steered me to Léontis called to say the artist was in hospital and penniless. Could I send money for his medical bills? I did — I sent the other half of what I'd agreed to pay for the painting. (I have no idea if the money actually went to the hospital.)
A short while later the broker called again. Léontis had died. I should come to Haïti immediately to get my painting. (This was the same 'broker' who nearly caused me to lose my Rigaud Benoit.)
When I arrived the artist's widow offered me a work that was interesting — and the same size as the one I'd commissioned — but not 'my' Annunication. Georges Nader, a Port–au–Prince gallery owner, had seized that work to satisfy a debt, she said, even though she'd told him that the work had been commissioned and paid for.
I went to the gallery. Mr Nader agreed to exchange the two paintings only if I would (1) give him half again as much as I had already paid Léontis for the work and also (2) buy one or more additional works. I wanted 'my' painting; I agreed; I paid. But I never returned to his gallery.
is one of the two additional paintings I bought from the gallery owner
who'd commandeered my Léontis. (A
Casimir, destroyed in the 1989 Loma
Prieta earthquake, was the other.)
Lèvêque, also a first generation artist and contributor of a small work to the glories of the Episcopal Cathedral, lived in Canada for many years and may still. (There is a very large Haitian presence in Montréal.)
recent years the realist Franck Louissaint has become a much prized
artist. While I
am not ordinarily attracted to 'photo-graphic' art, Louissaint's works
are so good
I decided I wanted one.
Louissaint has been exhibited in the United States and Europe.
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