Since Ann grew up in Puerto Rico and we have lived as a family in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, we have a special affection for Caribbean art, with its brilliant, passionate colors. We carry a variety of Caribbean pieces, including those pictured here. Two of our favorite artists from the region are Cuban-born Luis Lamothe Duribe and Lourdes Betancourt, whose works you can see by clicking on their names.
In Where Art Is Joy, Selden Rodman says Haitian art (better known than other Caribbean art) has been consistently surprising since the discovery of Hector Hyppolite and Philomé Obin in the mid-1940s. “In no other country has a school of self-taught painters and sculptors reigned supreme, renewing itself year after year,” says Rodman.
But how does one explain the paradox that an art of joy originated and sustains itself in the poorest nation of the Western Hemisphere? “A blend of African and French cultures, inspired by both the voudou and Christian religions, Haitian life has a unique quality, timeless yet electric,” says Rodman. “Close to nature, close to his family, close to his gods, the Haitian farmer still leads a life little influenced by the fashions and inventions of the twentieth century.”
We carry a small selection of Haitian art, including works by some of the leading artists. Louisianne Saint-Fleurant is the godmother and one of the co-founders of the remarkable Saint-Soleil School of Painting. Until her death in 2005, Saint-Fleurant significantly influenced the evolution of Haitian art, and was the premiere female Haitian artist. Fritzner Alphonse’s work has been in exhibitions throughout the Caribbean islands, in Europe, and in the United States. Bon Appetit magazine recently featured Alphonse in an illustrated article.