Hyppolite, Hector


Artist – The father-figure of Haitian art, and one of the greatest natural painters of modern times. Born in 1894 in St Marc, Hyppolite was a Vodou priest, and an artist and decorator. His talent was ‘discovered’ by Haitian novelist, Philippe Thoby-Marcelin, in 1945. Marcelin came across the doors of a bar in the village of Montrouis decorated with birds and flowers painted by Hyppolite using home-made brushes of cock’s feathers.

Hyppolite joined the recently-opened Centre D’Art in Port-au-Prince. He quickly achieved world-wide fame for the visionary style of his paintings of Vodou ceremonies and spirits. André Breton and Wilfredo Lam were among those who projected Hyppolite onto the international stage as the first great Haitian painter. He died in 1948, at the peak of his fame, leaving a legacy that has inspired a whole school of Haitian painting.

Also see Leah Gordon’s article “Raw Vision”

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