Vital, PauleusH (1917�86)

55. Sc�ne rurale_
1980 (16x12)

   I semi�commissioned this work. In December 1980 I visited Vital at his home across the riverQ from Jacmel. He had just begun a sketch of this painting. I 'reserved' it on the spot, returning a couple of days later to pick it up. As I did, an Englishwoman I'd met at the Pension Kraft took the photograph that's next to the thumbnail's enlargement.
   Pauleus Vital, a half�brother of Pr�f�te Duffaut and distant cousin of Th�ard Aladin, is a 'first generation' artist. His works have been exhibited worldwide and are featured in many books.

Q  The resident American whose car led mine out of Jacmel warned me that, because of my inexperience, I would likely stall as I tried to ford the stream. I didn't; he did. Since I had three lovely young women in my rented � 'location' � car, it was great fun. (It's a guy thing.)
    Several weeks later one of those ladies was sweet enough to send me, from London, a Paris Vogue reprint. It featured � in an extensive piece on Ha�ti, Haitian art, and Jean-Claude and Michele Bennet Duvalier � a reproduction of Louisiane St�Fleurant's Erzulie Dantor, a work I had bought in Cap�Ha�tien a few days after our adventure, and about which I had told her in one of our Jacmel�Le Cap phone calls.



     Z�phirin, Frantz (1966�   )

205. The Discovery of America_
1989 (24x20)


   Frantz Z�phirin is among the most interesting of 'third generation' Haitian artists. He began painting when he was no more than eight years old, having studied under his uncle, Antoine Obin.
   Z�phirin was soon hawking his works to tourists visiting Cap�Ha�tien on the cruise ships that called regularly during the relatively calm years of Jean�Claude {Baby Doc) Duvalier's 1971�86 regime.
   He soon moved, however, not only from Le Cap to the capital, but also in directions Antoine and his father, Philom� Obin, would neither have understood nor liked. A stern Baptist, his grandfather would surely have disdained the vodou elements that figure prominently in much of what Z�phirin now paints. But the old man would certainly have approved the protest against oppression and poverty that motivates much of the artist's work.
   Z�phirin's mature works betray a heavy debt to surrealism. He often features or incorporates anthropomorphic figures. In a broadcast interview the artist explained that 'there is an animal in each of us. Some are cats, some snakes. I try to show the relationship�.'

   Two weeks after the devastating 2010 earthquake, a Z�phirin painting was the cover of the New Yorker magazine (see right). Prints of that cover are � or were � available from Galerie Macondo ( Z�phirin often visits that gallery � and paints while there � and is a friend of its owner, Bill Bollendorf.
   The Discovery of America is one of the more interesting Z�phirins I've seen. Salvador Dali's treatment of the same subject � a signed lithograph, 212/300, hangs in my garage � celebrates Christopher Columbus. Z�phirin's mourns the tragedy about to overtake the Amerinds. I like the Z�phirin better. (Z�phirin himself provided the painting's date after viewing this website.)

'The Resurrection of the Dead'
Z�phirin's 25 January 2010
New Yorker cover


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