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date: 09 April 2020

Liautaud, Georgeslocked

(b Croix des Bouquets, nr Port-au-Prince, 1899; d 1991).
  • Dolores M. Yonker

Extract

(b Croix des Bouquets, nr Port-au-Prince, 1899; d 1991).

Haitian sculptor. He lived all his life in the dusty crossroads village where he was born. He was discovered in 1955 by the American watercolorist Dewitt Peters (1901–1966) and Antonio Joseph, who had noticed some unusual forged iron crosses in the town cemetery. Inquiring about the maker of these unique crosses, they were directed to a local blacksmith’s shop. Liautaud had worked as a mechanic on the sugar railroad. He explained the crosses as belonging to the graves of Vodounists and offered to make some for his visitors. It was the beginning of a long personal career as well as an entire genre of cut and forged metal sculpture in Haiti. He began to include representational elements in his work, cutting forms out of old oil drums or scrap with a hand chisel or hacksaw, as in Crucifixion (1959; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas). The technique demanded physical force and produced a roughly contoured shape whose edges were then filed and smoothed. Liautaud also forged elements, heating and hammering the metal to the desired shape; some details were rounded by hammering over forms or bent so that they extended into space. He often took the ...

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