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Artists: Alexandre Gregoire

Alexandre Gregoire
Considered among the most important of Haiti's first generation naive artists, Alexandre Gregoire was born August 29,1922 in the southern coastal town of Jacmel, Haiti and died in Jacmel on July 28, 2001 at the age of 78. The painter's primary schooling from 1930-37 was with the Christian Teaching Brothers. For two years, he studied cabinet making at the Jacmel vocational school, and in 1939 he joined the army, where he played in the army band. Widely regarded as a houngan, or vodou priest, he did not turn to painting until 1968. At the urging of his friends - artists Prefete Duffaut and Pierre-Joseph Valcin - and with encouragement from the Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Gregoire soon developed a unique style. His oil on canvas paintings feature representations of historical scenes and everyday life, but voodoo themes predominated in his work. In an interview with Michele Grandjean for the book Artistes en Haiti, Gregoire said "My life is a prayer and the painting is a sister to the prayer."

Gregoire's work has been sold through Sotheby's auction house in New York, and is included in the permanent collections of the Musee d'Art Haitien in Port-au-Prince, the Waterloo Museum of Art in Iowa, and the Milwaukee Art Center. In 1997, his paintings were featured in "Island on Fire," an exhibition of Hollywood film director Jonathan Demme's Haitian art collection at the Equitable Gallery, New York. Books and Catalogues include: 1974 - The Naive Tradition: Haiti, pp. 35-36; 1981 - Sotheby's Haitian and Latin American Paintings, Drawings and Prints, (Cat. #86, 87); 1982 - Art Expo: New York, p. 213; 1986 - La Peinture Haitienne, p. 117; 1990 - June/July Elle Decor, p. 21; 1997 - Equitable Gallery, NY.

The five paintings offered in our exhibit are all from the 1980s and were acquired from an important private collection.

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