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date: 09 April 2020

Valcin, Gérard locked

(b Port-au-Prince, July 10, 1927; d Port-au-Prince, May 15, 1988).
  • Dolores M. Yonker

Extract

(b Port-au-Prince, July 10, 1927; d Port-au-Prince, May 15, 1988).

Haitian painter. He came from a poor family and was forced to leave school after only three years. He began to paint after coming into contact with the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince and became a full-time artist as soon as he began to earn enough from his pictures to abandon his work as a tile-setter. He joined the Centre d’Art in 1959. He was a fervent adept of Vodoun, from which he took much of his subject-matter. He was attracted by the life of the countryside, usually situating his ceremonial scenes amid lush tropical foliage. Leaves, rows of tilled earth and the movements of water or human figures all conform to simplified motifs arranged in rhythmic repetition. In his pictures the embodied spirits are provided with symbolic dress and attributes; details of costume and draperies are highly stylized, falling into neatly parallel and rhythmic folds, and hands and faces are conventionalized. Using precisely delineated contours and enamel-like surfaces similar to those of the patterned tiles with which he worked in his youth, he arranged figures in circles, squares or horizontal registers across the picture plane; they have little individuation. With their pure colours and stylized but precise rendering, his pictures sometimes resemble the illuminations of medieval manuscripts....

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