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Sun, 09.16.1894

Hector Hyppolite, Haitian Artist born

Hector Hyppolite

*Hector Hyppolite was born on this date in 1894. He was a Black Haitian painter.

From St. Marc, Haiti, Hyppolite was educated as an apprentice shoemaker. He also worked as a cobbler, house painter, furniture decorator, shipbuilder, and Innkeeper. A decisive figure in modern Haitian art, Hyppolite is generally considered the most important of the untrained painters in the mid-twentieth century of his country.  Details of his life are sparse, but Hyppolite was known as a Houngan or Voodoo Priest. During a five-year sojourn to Africa, Hyppolite's connection to the home of his ancestors was central to his artistic expression. In the early 1940s, he began painting with an association with Le Centre d’ Art in Port-au-Prince.

What followed was a brief but prolific period of creation that lasted until his death. The subjects of his work range from Christian themes still life, and voodoo imagery. During the final years of his creative times, Hyppolite’s paintings attracted international attention, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. A legend in his country, Hyppolite was known for his aesthetically complex yet highly intuitive paintings.

A prolific painter typically depicted Vodou scenes and created between 250 and 600 paintings during the last three years of his life.  His devotion to his work as a priest influenced much of his work. However, after retiring from his work as a houngan, his work reflected the darker aspects of Haitian voodoo.  He died at about age 54 in Port-au-Prince.

To be an Artist



The St. James Guide to Black Artist
Edited by Thomas Riggs
Copyright 1997, St. James Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 1-55862-220-9

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