Haitian Artist Biographies
Préfète Duffault’s paintings are recognizable to almost anyone who has made an inquisitive journey into the world of Haitian art. Born in 1923, he is most famous for depicting everyday Haitian life within a fantastical setting. Duffault has continued to grace the world with his unique scenes well into his old age. His work is an easy favorite among art collectors.
Levoy Exil's artwork is among the most easily recognizable among Haitian art. Born in Haiti in 1944, the dream-like, voodooist imagery in his paintings epitomizes the Saint Soleil movement within Haitian art during the 1970s. He continues to live with his family and paint at his home in Soisson-la-Montagne. He remains devoted to Voodoo and to Haiti's spiritual consciousness.
Saincilus Ismael was born in Petite Riviere de l’Artibonite in 1940. He showed an interest in art early in life, beginning to draw in his spare time at age seven. He began painting in 1956. Later in his life, he became director of the Ceramic Center at the community exposition hall in Deschapelles. He is best known for his religious paintings, which call to mind old Christian icons. While he did paint market scenes, and vodou scenes, his renderings of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus are his most popular. Ismael died in the early spring of 2000.
This talented, young artist has been painting since 1993. Her canvases are always bursting with realism and a vibrancy that only life in the island nation of Haiti has. A master of portrait painting, her depictions of the typical Haitian man, woman, or child are among the very best. Lacroix’s greatest skill is capturing the spirit of the everyday moments of Haiti--the good, the bad and the funny.
Lyonel Laurenceau was born in Haiti in 1942. He studied art in Haiti and in Paris. He entered his work in the New York World’s Fair in 1966 and won First Prize. He has resided in Canada for the last three decades. His paintings tend to feature heavily the color blue, a color of serenity and peace. There is much symbolism in his imagery, and he frequently overlaps and layers images within his canvas. His pieces can be thought-provoking, but are also unarguably beautiful no matter what the subject matter. Laurenceau has exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world; his work is highly collectible.
Jean-Claude Legagneur was born in Haiti in 1947 and studied painting with famed Haitian artists including Bernard Wah and Luckner Lazard. He has exhibited his work many times since the late 1960s throughout the Americas and in Europe.
Ernst Louizor (1938 - present) is considered Haiti’s principle impressionist painter. At the young age of thirteen, he began training at the Centre d’Art under the tutelage of Wilmino Domond, an established artist. His artwork is well known and well recognized, as he has exhibited his paintings all over the world.
Dieuseul Paul’s style is instantly recognizable. Born in Damiens, Haiti, Paul is one of the original members of the Saint Soleil school of art. This art movement was born in 1973. Most of its paintings depict dream-like images of Vodou spirits and loa and the Saint Soleil artists themselves often speak of the painting process as being one that is conducted in a spiritual state.
Gerard Valcin is one of the original beloved masters in the world of Haitian art. Born in 1925, he worked as a tile-setter before beginning his career as an artist painting at the Art Center in Port-au-Prince. His subject matter always reflected elements of traditional Haitian everyday life—vodou and landscapes of countryside living in Haiti among other subjects. Gerard Valcin produced some of the greatest and best-known “naïf”/ “primitive” paintings. Gerard Valcin passed away in 1988.