Obin, Sully (1916–2012?)


222. 'Gnl T. Louverture'
223. 'Gnl A. Petion'
224. 'Gnl Jn Js Dessalines'
225. 'H. Christophe Roi d'Haïti'

   Sully is the eldest son of Sènêque Obin and a nephew of the great Philomé.
   Though Sully is not an undistinguished painter, the chief interest in these works is historical and comparative:
   
l Haitians have more reason than any other people to celebrate their revolution and honor its leaders. Haitians did not merely overthrow a monarch or escape from onerous taxes: they freed themselves from brutal, chattel slavery.
   
l The four best–known generals of that struggle have been painted many times. My collection includes a similar, though less imaginative treatment of the four by J–R Chéry.
   In these works:
   Toussaint is shown in a French general's uniform and with a picture of Buonaparte on the wall behind him, reflecting his alternately touching, hopeful, and expedient allegiance to France — and his service to the French. (Note also the inverted 'map' of Haïti.)
   Petion, the only mulatre among them, is shown in trappings associated with members of his class — drapes, books, a potted plant.
   Dessalines is shown with the new Haitian flag he created by ripping the white out of the French tricoleur.
   Christophe is shown with his great monument, the Citadelle, in the background.
   Each of these works is 9.5 by 7.5 inches. They are undated. They come from the same 'estate sale' that brought me Sènêque Obin's Henry Christophe.

For a marvelous account of these men and their times, I recommend Madison Smartt Bell's historical fiction trilogy: see Reading.

 

     Obin, Tèlémaque (1924–?)


123. 'Pdent Soulouqué et ses ministre'
c1987 (24x20)

 

   Philome's eldest son, Tèlémaque Obin was a watchmaker well into his fifties. Then the painting bug caught him — as it seems to have done with so many who were related to the great old man, or who came into contact with him.
   Though his father's influence is obvious, Tèlémaque's drafts–manship is less steady and his coloring is less assured than Philomé's.
   Tèlémaque is best known for idyllic works like Brookside Scene. 'Pdent Soulouqué' is atypical of his work. Soulouqué was elected in 1847; declared himself emperor in 1849; abdicated in 1859; and escaped with his life. For a brief assessment of his life and rule see: www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/history/1844-1915/soulouque.htm.

 

 
132. Brookside Scene
c1989 (20x24)
 

           

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