141. Vendeuse de mais
Bigaud is another of Haitian art's big names.
He was discovered by Dewitt
Peters as early as 1946; he studied with the legendary
for whom he mixed paints. In 1950 one of the then teenager's works — a Paradise
terrestre similar to the one right and below — won
second prize at an international exhibit in Washington, D.C.; it is now
in New York's Museum of Modern Art. The same year he completed his Marriage at Cana,
one of the finest of the famed
Episcopal Cathedral murals,
and later two additional murals, Heaven and Hell.
does mostly scenes of everyday life. If not so technically polished —
as, say, the works of
Yves Michaud —
they are both imaginative and highly distinctive. Anyway, unlike
Michaud, Bigaud is
entirely a self-taught artist.
of Wilson's many other renderings of Paradise, the subject of his
1950 masterpiece, may be seen by clicking
on the thumbnail (right). The artist has, as well, often painted market
scenes similar to Marché
and Vendeuse and also occasionally carnaval revelers — including himself — in costumes much like those in Groupes de carnaval.
There are usually, however, subtle differences: no two I've seen are
exactly the same. (Many other artists, including some
who are both accomplished and celebrated — see Gérard
— do make almost exact copies of their own work
and over and over again.)
an undated work, was obtained from a gallery in Florida. Unlike most of my
other Bigauds -- except Cabaret and Groupes de carnaval -- it is not a scene or theme Bigaud did
again and again.
Having suffered from acute depression most of his
life — a condition that may be reflected in the haunted eyes of many
of his figures — Bigaud endured
a series of nervous breakdowns between 1957 and 1961. He then retired
from the Port-au-Prince art scene, continuing to work in Petit-Goâve, a
provincial own devastated by the 2010 earthquake, the year of Bigaud's
death. (With Prêféte Duffaut, Bigaud was the
last surviving member of those known as 'first generation' Haitian artists.)
Though nothing he did
his breakdowns matched the masterpieces of his youth,
everything Wilson Bigaud did was interesting.
174. 'Groupes de carnaval'
202. Paradise terrestre
248. Hospital Visit