Hector Hyppolite

Haitian painter. He is the most famous of his country’s remarkable crop of naive painters, but he did not achieve recognition until the final years of his life, after André Breton encountered his work on a visit to the island in 1945 and arranged exhibitions of his paintings in Europe. Before this, Hyppolite spent most of his life in poverty and obscurity, and there is little solid information about his early career. He was born in St Marc and followed his father and grandfather in becoming a Voodoo priest. He also worked as a cobbler and house-painter, and his artistic work began with the decoration of doors and walls. It was only towards the end of his life that he began painting easel pictures, and he is said to have regretted that they distracted him from his duties as a Voodoo priest. Many of his paintings were inspired by his religious beliefs, featuring Voodoo scenes and symbols. He used bold, flat forms and vivid colours, and had no interest in technical refinement, his paint sometimes being applied with chicken feathers or his fingers.

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