Mystical Imagination: The Art of Haitian Master Hector Hyppolite - May-June 2009, Art Museum of the Americas

The Haitian government has declared
2008-2009 as the year of Hector Hyppolite.

In recognition of this momentous event, the Haitian Art Society (national and Washington DC chapters) and the Waterloo Center for the Arts are partnering to present a major retrospective exhibition of the work of Hyppolite to open at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC in May 2009.

The exhibition, which will remain on view into early July 2009, will include 50-100 works, will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue and is expected to tour to several other U.S venues. This project will not only honor Hyppolite as a great master artist of international importance, but will also serve to further interest in Haitian art as a whole.

We are confident that you will be as excited as we are about this landmark project, one which is long overdue, and one which will undoubtedly garner further respect and admiration for the work of Hyppolite and other Haitian artists.

Hector Hyppolite (1894-1948)
Hector Hyppolite was born in St Marc, Haiti, and at his death in 1948, was recognized as Haiti’s foremost painter. By 1946, both André Breton and Wilfredo Lam were purchasing his work and hailing him as a master of naïve art.

UNESCO’s 1947 exhibition in Paris gave Hyppolite world-wide reputation. Born into a family of voodoo priests, Hyppolite did not start to paint until late in his life. During World War I, Hyppolite traveled to New York, Cuba, Dahomey and Ethiopia before returning to the city of St. Mark in 1920.

Although by trade a shoemaker, house painter, and sometimes voodoo priest, Hyppolite painted postcards for American marines visiting Haiti. His painted architectural decorations in St. Mark brought him to the attention of DeWitt Peters, founder and Director of the Centre D’Art. With DeWitt’s encouragement, Hyppolite moved to Port-au-Prince and devoted himself to painting.

Using chicken feathers and his fingers as well as brushes, Hyppolite produced a body of work of remarkable richness and complexity. His works are collected and exhibited in major museums throughout
the world.

In 2008 the Government of Haiti issued a decree establishing June 2008- June 2009 as the year of Hector Hyppolite as a testimony to the impact he has had on the art world.

  Ogoun on His Charger, Hector Hyppolite, 1948
Ogoun on His Charger, Hector Hyppolite, 1948. Collection of
James & Elizabeth Crowe.

Numerous museums and collectors through out the U.S.
and Haiti are collaborating for the firsttime to present
the works of Hector Hyppolite.