Painting was from the outset the faithful companion of the Haitian people. Out of the colonial matrix, it recorded all the great moments of its life from slavery to its heroic struggle to win his freedom to the uncertainties of today's society. Painting cried with the Haitian people, shared its defeats and disappointments. It sang its myths and beliefs. It plunged to the bottom of its most intimate dreams. If it lost an important part of its cultural heritage, the Haitian people would be deprived of the common impulses that shape the victories against the throes of destiny. It couldn’t measure progress, defend itself from the errors of the past, and believe in the future. It would sink into disarray and decline.
The Musée d’Art Haitien was built in 1972 in the historic center of the city of Port-au-Prince, on the southeast outskirts of the Heroes of Independence Square, the main venue for public cultural events of the Haitian capital. The museum is the expression of the dream of Dewitt Peters, an American painter, who, seduced by the extraordinary richness and quality of Haitian painting, created the Centre d’Art in 1944 with the support of some Haitian artists and intellectuals. The Centre d’Art was a prelude to the museum and played a key role in promoting Haitian Folk and sophisticated art internationally. This role was resumed, structured and amplified with the creation of the Musée d’Art Haitien of the St. Pierre College, which hosted much of the collection of the Centre d'Art, with the help of Alfred Voegeli, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Haiti. Bishop Voegeli was a personal friend of Dewitt Peters. He organized an auction to help the creation of the museum at the Park Bernet Gallery in New York with the help of the then U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Clinton E. Knox.
The Musee d'Art Haitien was severely damaged by the 2010 earthquake
The Musée d’Art Haitien remains one of the few institutions that preserve the Haitian paintings of the twentieth century. Its collection includes irreplaceable work from what is considered the renewal of Haitian painting in 1944-1945 to today. The collection contains the most prominent artists and some of their most outstanding work. From Hector Hyppolite, who was hailed by French writer and poet André Breton as one of the masters of Haitian painting, the museum has the well-known Le Dieu tout puissant and La femme aux oiseaux (or Erzulie) among many others. From Philomé Obin, founder of l’Ecole du Cap, known for his historical paintings, it has La cruxifixion de Charlemagne Péralte and La liberté en marche. Work from his brother, Senèque Obin is also present. It’s worth noting that Seneque’s four portraits of the Fathers of the Homeland are presently displayed at Le Louvre in Paris.
Monseigneur Alfred Voegeli
For a long time, together with the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Musée d’Art Haitien was a major point of attraction for tourists and art connoisseurs. The museum was also a center for learning where schoolchildren and students came to participate in workshops and listen to conferences. Except for galleries, whose main purpose is to sell art, the Musée d’Art Haitian is the only place where the Haitian people, and in particular its youth, can learn about the nation’s magnificent art. There is an urgent need to undertake the work for the protection of this unique collection by ensuring the rehabilitation of the premises. A group of compatriots has decided to unite their effort in the Musée d’Art Haitien Support Committee of New York. This committee is headed by Dr. Michel Philippe Lerebours, curator, vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musée d’Art Haitien du College St. Pierre.
Le Musee d'Art Haitien du College St Pierre
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