Artful Photos: Chinese Bronzes & Replicas (Part 2)

This is a continuation of photos Taken at the Chicago Art Institute of an exhibit of Chinese bronzes, March 6, 2018.

Beginning in the first century A.D. (C.E. – Common Era, which I will use in this post), there were two types of collectors of ancient bronzes: emperors and the elite scholar-officials (shidafu). Rulers saw these ancient artworks as a symbol of moral and political authority. From the 1100s onward, intellectuals and artists outside the imperial palace were also engaged in collecting and studying ancient bronzes, especially their inscriptions.

The following pieces were collected during the Song Dynasty (8th-12th centuries C.E.). 20180306_135421.jpg
The Song Dynasty instituted a civil service system based on Confucian principles. Scholars began studying antiquities systematically, cataloguing their physical features and inscriptions.
20180306_135640Emperor Huizong (ruled 1100-1126) of the Song Dynasty was the first Chinese emperor to enshrine collecting as a serious endeavor. He assembled a huge collection of ancient bronzes and replicated many of them.20180306_135649
Huizong attempted to establish a new political order by referring to a past that no longer existed.

In the Qing and Ming Dynasties, replicas were made of ancient bronzes using different materials.


Censer in the form of an ancient bronze tripod cauldron (Ding), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), nephrite jade



Censer in the form of a ancient bronze rectangular cauldron (Fangding), Qing Dynasty, nephrite jade



Beaker in the form of an ancient bronze container (Zun), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Cloisonné



Censer in the form of an ancient bronze tureen (Gui), Ming Dynasty, Cloisonné

There were many different animal forms, which I especially liked.
This one looks like it was made of metal objects which were soldered together. Note the two-colored patterns on the side.
I also loved this beautiful red container, embossed with intricate repeated designs.
The following are two paintings of a set of 12 commissioned by Emperor Yongzheng, portraying palace consorts known as court beauties (meiren), surrounded by or using antiquities. The first is of a young woman looking into a mirror. The photo just below it shows the type of ancient bronze mirror she was using.


Court Lady Looking into a Mirror (from Twelve Beauties), artist unknown. She is sitting on a couch made from tree roots and looking into a bronze mirror. On the screen behind her is a poem that Yongzheng wrote.



Ancient bronze mirrors with inscriptions and decoration



A bronze jar (hu) from the Han Dynasty (206BCE-220CE) sits on the lacquered table where this lady sits. Behind her are cabinets of antiquities, including a beaker (gu) from the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE) and a bell (bo) from the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE).

Part 3 next week will include paintings, rubbings, and music!









Artful Bronzes: Bronzes of Ancient China (Part 1)

At the Chicago Art Institute last month, we saw an exhibition of ancient Chinese bronzes.
Chinese emperors used to collect ancient bronzes to connect to the past and building their power in the present. These bronze objects mostly date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.E. and had been found in tombs where they contained sacrifices to the ancestors, to accompany the deceased to the underworld, or commemorate family lineages in public ceremonies.

in later centuries, Chinese emperors considered these bronze vessels to be a sign of omens or blessings. Qianlong (1735-960, a powerful emperor of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) had collected a huge number of artworks, including ancient bronzes, to underscore his power and express his worldview.



Jar (Hu) – Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE)

Bronze making in China arose from pottery traditions of the Neolithic era (before 2000 BCE). Bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, gave inhabitants of the region a substance that was harder and more durable than anything previously available.

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Pedestal tureen of Hu (Hu Gui), Western Zhou dynasty, bronze (from the Shanghai Museum)

Among the most common vessel types are the bucket (you), cauldron (ding), cup (zhi), food container (gui), jar (hu), stemmed bowl (dou) and wine container (zun). Modern archaeologists classify objects by form and function and still use the ancient names.



L-R: Beaker of Er (Er Zun), late Shang dynasty (1250-1046 BCE), bonze; Bucket of Recorder Huan (Zuo Ce Huan You), Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE), bronze; Beaker of Mother Zin (Mu Xin Zu), Western Zhou dynasty, bronze; Jar (Hu), late Shang dynasty, bronze. The bucket (second from left) had writing inside, from which rubbings were taken.

The following photo is of one of my favorites, because of the elaborate designs all around it.



Jar (Hu), Warring States period (475-221 BCE), bronze (from the Shanghai Museum)



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Pitcher of Father Ding (Fu ding Gong), late Shang dynasty, bronze

The Shang dynasty led to stability, prosperity, and various cultural developments, including a form of writing and a method of casting bronze using ceramic molds.


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Small Tripod Cauldron of Chang Zi (Chang Zi Ding), Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE), bronze (from collection of Art Institute of Chicago)



Mask, Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE), bronze



Clockwise from top left: Bird-shaped container (Zun), late Shang dynasty, bronze; Ram-shaped container (Zun), late Shang dynasty, bronze; Ox-shaped container (Zun), Shang dynasty (about 1600-1046 BCE), bronze


To be continued…







Artful Sculptures: Rodin at the Chicago Art Institute

Recently Dale and I went to the Art Institute for a special exhibit of sculptures by Rodin (1840-19170, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.
Robert Louis Stevenson called Rodin the “master of visual communication.”


I Am Beautiful, modeled 1882, casted about 1889-1892, bronze

All of Rodin’s sculptures are reproductions of his original clay models. Many of the ones on display were from private collections.


The Hand of God, modeled 1898, cast date 1920s or earlier, bronze

The Hand of God was conceived as the creation of Adam and Eve, which Rodin imagined as an act of sculpting.


The Thinker, modeled 1880, cast date under research, bronze (side view)

Probably Rodin’s most famous sculpture, Rodin suggests the extreme physicality of mental activity, not only in his facial features but in every muscle of his arms, back and legs.


The Thinker, front view


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Despair, modeled between 1885-90, carved 1893 (?), marble


In Despair, Rodin invented a new pose – the figure’s act of stretching out and at the same time folding her body inward is evocative of emotional distress. This is the first example of this work; later plaster casts were taken to reproduce it in bronze.


Eternal Springtime, modeled about 1884, cast about 1910-mid 1920s, bronze

This vision of two young lovers was one of Rodin’s most popular compositions. Exact examples of it are extremely rare because it was technically difficult to produce. This bronze is the same version of the plaster that Rodin gave to Robert Louis Stevenson. Many later versions were made by adding a support for the male figure’s arms and legs.


Eve, modeled 1883, carved 1888 or earlier, marble

Rodin contracted specialist practitioners to carve multiple versions of Eve in marble, but no two are exactly alike. These two examples are among the earliest created; the example in front was produced in pure white marble, while the example on the right (which belongs to the Art Institute’s permanent collection) was made with a deeply veined marble.


Artful Amsterdam: The Van Gogh Museum

Jan. 31, 2018

It wasn’t until this trip that I learned to pronounce Van Gogh’s name properly; it’s not van-GO as we say in English, but rather vahn-GOG, as closely as I can approximate it phonetically.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is definitely a must-see if you are a fan of the artist’s work. The main museum deals with his life and work, with an emphasis on his letters to his brother Theo and others. One wall contains a family tree to keep track of whose who – he had two sisters and another brother besides Theo.  Before we left for Amsterdam, we watched the movie Lust for Life, (IMDb review here) released in 1956, starring Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh. Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van GoghI realized from looking at Van Gogh’s self-portraits that the young Kirk Douglas did, in fact, look amazingly like Vincent!

The movie was a good introduction to the artist’s life, and the most important people in his life. I strongly recommend it as an introduction to his life and work.Kirk Douglas-Lust for Life

In the lobby of the main building are light panels which project quotes and paintings in rotation.
1-31 Van Gogh Museum1

1-31 Van Gogh Museum2


20180131_120118We were not allowed to take pictures in the main galleries which displayed original Van Gogh works, but we had both taken a couple before we were told not to.

1-31 Van Gogh painting of books-Van Gogh Museum

Still Life with Books by Vincent Van Gogh



Van Gogh self-portraits





The Yellow House – the house in Arles, France, where Vincent went to find peace and subjects to paint.

The reproductions of his works, which were blown up and covered entire walls, as well as his letters – similarly plastering the walls – were OK to photograph.147
Blown up on the walls were some of Van Gogh’s letters, especially to his brother Theo. In these letters, he would often include small sketches of things he was working on or something he was describing. I couldn’t read the letters, of course, being in Dutch, but there were some translated quotes posted here and there.


In this letter to Theo, he includes in the sketch the colors he plans to use for the painting – lilac, emerald, rose.



1-31 Van Gogh letters-Van Gogh Museum

In this letter, he sketched one of his most famous paintings, The Bedroom. There are actually three completed copies of this painting – he painted copies in case one or another should be destroyed, but each painting is slightly different than the others. This is a depiction of the bedroom in his house in Arles,  made famous by the painting The Yellow House.

148A second part of the museum displays artwork of modern artists who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work. This section is accessible via a underground walkway, or by exiting the main building and walking over to the smaller building across the square. We did not go to this smaller section.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is located on Museumplein, near the most comprehensive Dutch art museum, Rijksmuseum.






Artful Amsterdam: “Na” in the Oude Kerk

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Oude Kerk, or “Old Church” is the oldest building still standing in Amsterdam.  Around it grew the Red Light District, so to get to it, you walk through part of this famous district! (We didn’t see much of it, only shop windows.)  SONY DSCThis, the first church in Amsterdam, was Catholic at one time, but later was turned into a Protestant, Dutch Reformed church.SONY DSCI had gotten the impression from Rick Steves’ book that these old Protestant churches were rather plain and dull. So it shouldn’t take long to see it, I thought. We had limited time and I wanted to tour Our Lord In the Attic church also.

Our I Amsterdam passes got us in free and we were handed a map and a newspaper, which the woman at the entrance said was about art – “it’s not just a church, but also a place for modern art,” she said.

I opened the map but found it confusing so I folded it up again. When we first walked into the church, I was startled by a voice asking something in Dutch coming from a wooden frame dressed in a black coat. Above the coat, attached to the top of the frame was a small lamp pointed downward.

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Altar at Oude Kerk

Most of the far wall was obscured by looming black rectangular shapes. They were covered with black plastic so I assumed some sort of renovation was going on.033 (16)There was also a strange sound echoing through the building – a high pitched wind sound. Dale thought it was the sound of some tool being used by the workers, although we didn’t see anyone working. In the center of the room, instead of pews, were rows of black coats lying on the floor.
033 (15)The floor itself had what looked like grave markers – I was familiar with this – many old churches had people buried under the floors. 033 (28)On the far end were a bunch of folding chairs draped also with black coats and against a dark partition at the back was an arrow pointing upward, made out of light bulbs. OK, I understood the point – the black coats represented people who had died or were buried here, but I didn’t understand how the arrow fit in with this theme.033 (32)


Then I heard whispering. It was coming from the rows of seats flanking the center, where the choir would sit. I had approached these because the back of the chairs had interesting figures carved on them. It must have been quite uncomfortable to sit with one’s back against these protrusions, I thought. Being a choir member myself, I always notice the accommodations for the choir when I visit other churches.033 (29)


033 (30)As I snapped some photos, I heard a whispering voice but couldn’t make out what it was saying. Some words seemed to be repeated – was it a macabre poem in Dutch, or an obscure religious text?
033-27.jpgHearing it a second time on the other side, I decided to take a short video so I could record the voice. This time I understood – it was whispering names: “Cornelia” was repeated twice, then other presumably unintelligible names. Who was Cornelia and why was she being summoned by this eerie whisper?

Only later, back in our apartment, when I read the paper we’d been given, did I really understand. There was no construction or renovation going on.  It was an art installation called Na by artist Christian Boltanski.

Oude Kerk - Na artist Christian Boltanski

Photo of artist Christian Boltanski standing in the Oude Kerk (scanned from newspaper about the exhibition).


The bulky black shapes represented looming tombstones of various heights. The names being whispered were those of the 8,000 people who were buried underneath the church! Somewhere there was a recording machine with an invitation for visitors to record their whispering one of these names. There is no distinction between male and female voices when they are whispering, so the voices would be anonymous. As for the names, they were all printed in a small book near the entrance, which I missed completely. The questions posed by the anonymous black coats on frames were meant to make the visitor wonder about the dead: “Did you suffer when you died?” Each question was different. Being in Dutch, I could not contemplate these questions regardless.


Oude Kerk - Na - lightbulbs in doorway

“Crepuscule” – Through wires, 158 (the number of days of the exhibition) lightbulbs are connected on the floor. As time passes, one lamp will automatically be switched off at noon every day until all of the lights have faded on the last day of the exhibition.


The newspaper article concludes, “With his work, Christian Boltanski (b. Paris, 1944) inquires about the life and death of anonymous people and groups whose history is in the process of fading away.  In the Oude Kerk artists hold meanings from the past up to the light again, adding new pages to (art) history with their work.

The exhibition Na runs from Nov. 24, 2017 through April 29, 2018 at the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam.

Artful Amsterdam: The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is the largest art museum in Amsterdam, with a collection of one million pieces. Established in 1800, it is on most everyone’s “must see” list of things to do when visiting Amsterdam.

The current Rijksmuseum (which means “State Museum”) was designed by the Dutch architect, Petrus J. H. Cuypers, who also designed the Concertegebouw and the Centraal Station, and opened in 1885.  The building is Dutch neo-Renaissance style, using neo-Gothic elements in its decoration. It is located in Museumplein, or Museum Square, where you also find the Van Gogh Museum, the modern art Stedelijk Museum, and the Moco Museum (also modern art). The Rijksmuseum’s imposing façade dominates the square.  Although its design is from the 19th century, the Netherlands is very environmentally conscious, so improvements have been made, including solar panels on the roof!

We visited on a drizzly day, Jan. 29, 2018, having flown into Amsterdam overnight and taken time for a nap before we ventured out sightseeing.


Dale in Museumplein; behind him is the Rijksmuseum.

1-29 Rijksmuseum front facade

There was an ice skating rink and large letters spelling out “I amsterdam” – which attracted many people for a photo opp or selfie.


Outside the museum, it is worthwhile to pause to admire the gardens and the façade itself.



At the entrance, we stopped to admire two statues, of Laocoön (being attacked, along with his two sons, by serpents) and Diana (goddess of hunting, who had the power to talk to animals) two figures of Greek & Roman mythology:

With our “I Amsterdam” passes (which we ordered online and picked up at the airport when we arrived) we were able to get into the museum free. I strongly recommend ordering this pass for anyone visiting Amsterdam, because it is good not only to get into museums free, but also free passage on the trams and buses. You order by the day, so that you pay only for the number of days you will be there.

Inside the museum, you enter the atrium, renovated in 2013. From here you can see, half a story below, the gift shop, and directly above it, the restaurant/cafeteria.

There is no way you can see this entire museum in one day, which is why we decided to concentrate on the 17th century, the century during which many of the most famous Dutch masters lived and worked. Each floor is dedicated to the art of a particular century. We went to the 2nd floor where the works of Rembrandt and his contemporaries are displayed.

On the stairway to the second floor:

At the top of the stairs, we entered the Great Hall, with stained glass windows depicting painters, philosophers and others. The floor tiles contain beautiful designs, and the walls are covered with artwork.


1-29 Rijksmuseum




The 2nd floor contains the Gallery of Honour, through glass doors from the Great Hall, with small rooms lining each side, each dedicated to a particular artist.  At the entrance to each, there are laminated cards in various languages that explain what to look for in that display.

Temporarily on display was a triptych, The Last Judgement, by 16th century Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden.

On the back of each side of the triptych are other paintings.

At the far end of the Gallery of Honour is Rembrandt’s famous painting, Night Watch.

There were other Rembrandts to see, of course, my favorite being The Jewish Bride.

We wandered through the rooms which formed a continuous rectangle entered through doors on either side of the Great Hall.

I took several photos with my cellphone camera, but unfortunately, these were all lost with my phone on the last day of our trip, at the airport in Tanzania! 😦

I include here a few taken by Dale, who is not in the habit generally of also taking a photo of the plaque alongside that identifies the name of the painting, the artist, etc.



We both liked this sculpture, called Topers (Drinkers) by Jan Pieter van Baurscheit (1669-1728), Antwerp, c. 1700, symbolizing gluttony. The sculpture impresses upon its viewers a moral lesson, that excessive drinking undermines the work ethic and leads to laziness. The sculptor may have been inspired for this piece by popular theatre, in which characters such as these are often portrayed.

When we were just about finished viewing all the rooms on the 2nd floor, there was an announcement that the museum was going to close in half an hour! I was amazed – we’d been there for two and a half hours. Fortunately, the announcer also informed us that the gift shop and the restaurant would stay open an additional hour, until 6:00 p.m.  Dale gave me some time to do a bit of shopping in the gift shop and then we went to the restaurant to have a snack – Dale had coffee and a brownie, and I ordered hot chocolate and a muffin.  It was a relief – we were quite exhausted!
1-29 enjoying a snack at Rijksmuseum




Artful: Tarsila do Amaral

Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) helped shaped  Brazilian Modernism. The exhibition of her work at the Art Institute of Chicago (which ended January 7, 2018) focused on the decade of the 1920s, when she moved back and forth between São Paulo and Paris and drew influences from the cultural, social and creative life of both cities.

Her important contribution was part of a broader Brazilian movement called Anthropophagy, whose proponents imagined their work as a sort of “aesthetic cannibalism” in which they consumed and digested a variety of artistic forms and traditions to create a new artistic language of their own.

The information at the exhibit said that Tarsila do Amaral is quite famous in Brazil, but almost unknown in the United States. I talked to my Brazilian sister-in-law about this artist, and although she didn’t know her by name, she did recognize some of the paintings that I sent her photos of.

These are my favorites of the 120 works displayed.



Abaporu (1928), oil on canvas. The name comes from two words in the indigenous Tupi-Guarani languages: aba, which means “person” and poru, which means “who eats.”  This is one of Tarsila’s most famous works, which my sister-in-law was familiar with.



Anthropophagy (1929), oil on canvas. The faceless figures, which may be identified as male and female, are set against a green wall of cacti and a banana plant. Inspired by European paintings of bathers, the landscape sets the figures in a Brazilian rather than European setting.





Sketches for Serra de Mantiqueira






Carnival in Madureira (1924), oil on canvas




Hills of the Favela (1924), oil on canvas. Favela is the Brazilian word for shantytown or slum, which began to crop up on the hillsides surrounding Rio de Janeiro and other cities in the late 1800s. In visiting the favelas, Tarsila and her companions explored the rich Afro-Brazilian music and culture.



The Bull (1928), oil on canvas



Study for Blue Woman (Water Spirit) I, (1925), graphite and water color on paper



The Lake (1928), oil on canvas



Manacá (1927), oil on canvas. A stylized portrait of the manacá plant of Amazonas, used by the native Tupi people for medicinal and magical purposes.




Anthropophagic Landscape (1929), oil on canvas





The Papaya Tree (1925), oil on canvas



Sleep (about 1928), oil on canvas





A Cuca (1924), oil on canvas. Tarsila wrote to her daughter about this painting: “A cuca is a strange animal, in the forest with a frog, an armadillo and an invented animal.” The cuca is adopted from Brazilian mythology. This painting is possibly the last of Tarsila’s paintings in its original frame with faux-snakeskin trim, which adds to the exoticness of the work.



Workers (1933), oil on canvas. In 1929, Tarsila experienced a series of setbacks including the loss of her family fortune and the end of her relationship with Oswaldo de Andrade, which resulted in the end of the Anthropophagy movement. She became interested in socialism and traveled to Moscow in 1931 where she became inspired by the “great collective effort.” As a result of her involvement in left-wing politics, she was imprisoned by the Brazilian government for one month in 1932. This left her very cautious, but she continued to participate in socialist activities for a short time and painted this work the following year.

I found Tarsila do Amaral’s work to be very colorful, creative, unusual, and VERY Brazilian. Which of these paintings did you find most interesting or beautiful? I welcome all comments, as well as links to any artwork you find inspiring!










Artful Photos weekend: Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright was an American painter, born 1897 and died 1983.  The Art Institute of Chicago permanent collection contains a few of his works; these two in particular struck me.

The painting below is titled “A Picture of Dorian Gray” which the artist painted for the 1945 movie version of Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel. He was chosen for this work because of his ability to portray the macabre. In the novel, Dorian Gray is a young, handsome man who has his portrait painted showing his attractive, youthful appearance. As he proceeds to live a life of debauchery and evil, his portrait gradually changes to reflect the ugliness of his life.



Ivan Albright, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943-44; oil on canvas


The painting below, “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do: The Door,” took Albright a decade to complete. He spent weeks collecting and arranging props for this work, then took nearly ten years to paint it, covering every bit of the canvas with intricate and obsessive detail, as characterizes his work. He considered this his most important work, “a powerful meditation on a life unlived.”


Ivan Albright, That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do: The Door, 1931-41; oil on canvas


Artful Photos Debut! – Haitian Art

Artful Photos is a new feature that I am starting in 2018. I am going to publish a photo (or more than one) of artwork from museums that I have visited. I go to a lot of art museums when I travel, plus I am a member of the Art Institute of Chicago (which means I get in free, so I try to get to as many of the special exhibits as possible). Most art museums (though not all) do allow you to take pictures of the artwork as long as you don’t use the flash. I take photos of everything from classic European art to modern art, sculpture to artistic everyday objects, and artwork from around the world.  I have posted a few of these previously on my blog.

I will publish Artful Photos every weekend. If you would like to participate by adding a link to your own photos of artwork, that would be awesome! Then we would all get to enjoy many kinds of art each week!

I am going to start with a series of Haitian paintings and metal sculptures that I photographed at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) when I was visiting last November. The Haitian art is part of the museum’s permanent collection and has been there since 1991, when a Milwaukee businessman and his wife donated the Haitian art  they had collected since 1973, to the museum.

It is well worth a visit if you happen to be in Milwaukee.  Plus, the building itself is a wonder of modern architecture,



MAM is on the right – the boat-like structure. 

designed by Salvatore Calatrava. (He also designed the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro; I posted several pictures from that museum, including the architecture, last year.)




Laurent Casimir (1928-1990), “Crowded Market (Ampil Moun Nan Mach),” 1972; oil on masonite


Haitian art has a complex tradition. It combines characteristics from native populations that occupied the island of Hispaniola prior to European colonization with African and European elements. It is usually very colorful and detailed, depicting scenes of Haitian life or religious figures from the vodoun (vodun, formerly known as voodoo) tradition native to Haiti.



Rigaud Benoit (1911-1986), “Flower Carnaval (Flè Kanaval),” 1973; oil on masonite

This religious tradition has its origins in West Africa, from where slaves were brought to  the island nation. With the introduction of Christianity, a blending of elements from both African and European religions, called syncretism, became the expression of religious practice in Haiti.  Haitians are mostly practicing Catholics, but their symbols and rituals combine both African and Catholic traditions. For example, the Catholic saints each have also a vodun name and are said to be influential for certain purposes, usually similar ones in both religious traditions.




Serge Jolimeau (b. 1952), “Demon,” 1977; cut and forged metal

Three “schools” of Haitian art are presented here. The Southern school, based in Port-au-Prince, is represented by Hector Hyppolite, who mostly deals with the subject matter of Vodun. The Northern school is typically more secular and historical, such as the work of Philomé Obin, in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. The production of steel drum sculptures is located in the northeastern suburb of the capital, Croix-des-Bouquets.



Rigaud Benoit, “Recall of the Dead (Rele Mò),” 1973; oil on masonite

The art of Haitian steel sculpture comes from the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, an eastern suburb of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. The sculptures are made from 55-gallon oil drums that companies used to dump in this impoverished town, along with industrial waste. In the 1940s, a local blacksmith combined the metal from these drums with iron bars to make elaborate metal crosses for the cemetery. Thus he turned waste into something useful and a new tradition was born. Once small and forgotten, Croix-des-Bouquets now bustles with artisan activity. The sounds of hammers and other tools emanate from almost every home.



Serge Jolimeau, “Sagittarius (Sagitè),” date unknown; cut and forged metal



Haitian Vodun banner (Danbala) (Drapo Vodoun), 20th century; sequins and beads on cloth

The language of Haiti is French Creole, which has influences from several languages, especially French. A small minority of educated members of the upper class in the capital also speak standard French, but the vast majority of Haitians speak only Creole.




Philomé Obin (1891-1986), “Outdoor Dance (Dans Nan Deyò),” 1958; oil on Masonite



Serge Jolimeau, “Peristil (Peristil),” ca. 1977; cut and forged metal

Haitian art came to international attention in 1944, when American artist DeWitt Peters opened the art school Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince. The art school allowed artists from all over Haiti, both trained and untrained, to come together to make art and share their ideas.



Gerard Valcin (1927-1988), “Ceremony in Vodun Temple (Seremoni Nan Tanp Vodoun),” 1963: oil on masonite



Hector Hyppolite (1894-1948), “Black Magic (Magi Nwa),” ca. 1946; oil on board



Gerard Valcin, “Communal Fieldworkers [Konbit] (Konbit Travayè [Konbit]},” 1971; oil on masonite