Jordan Meinster, Masters of the Saint Soleil School, & Self-Taught Artists of the West Indies, Latin America, & the African Diaspora

Posted in John's Current Blog on July 30, 2018

Featuring some of the best known Haitian artists of the 1980s and 1990s. (Above, “Jesus in the Garden of Eden” by Fortuné Gérard, 1988.)




414 Whitaker Street

Savannah, Georgia

Some highlights from the exhibition:

Crucifixion, mixed media on paper, mounted under glass, 18″x 24*, framed 25″x 32″, signed lower right.


Jordan Meinster (American, 1935-2013) lived and painted in his home town of Philadelphia; in Puerto Rico, where he taught art; in Spain, and in Mexico. Widely exhibited, he was also a dealer of Caribbean art and owned Gallery West Indies in Charleston in the 1980s and early 90s.


Haitian Artists of the Saint Soleil School

Founded in 1973 in the hillside village of Pétion-Ville above Port-au-Prince, the Saint Soleil School of painters began as a rural arts community called Soisson-la-Montagne. Determined to foster a modern art over the naïve, the school taught and encouraged an academic study of painting. The painters, however, drew most of their inspiration from vaudou, representing voodoo gods, or loas, as abstract human forms, reflecting both native Taino, African, and Christian beliefs. A sense of joy is evident in the colorful paintings. Of the original ten painters, only Denis Smith and Levoy Exil survive.

Eliassaint, Françoise, born 1958.. Student of André Normil, whom she married. Joined Saint Soleil in 1982. At right, Madonna and Child. Acrylic on Canvas.20”x 24”; framed, 23”x 27”. Signed, lower right. SOLD








Pierre-Louis, Prospère, 1947-1996, original member of Saint Soleil.

Painted in 1991, this huge (40”x 60”) oil on canvas by Pierre-Louis is framed in simple white wood, ½”wide and 1-3/4”deep. Signed, lower middle.






This rare black and white acrylic on masonite by Antilhomme measures 24: x 30″; framed, 27″x 33″. Signed lower right.


Richard, Antilhomme, 1920?-2002, Haiti. Early member of Saint Soleil. Did not paint from 1978, when Saint Soleil disbanded, to 1989.










Saint Fleurant. Acrylic on canvas, 1989. 20″x 24″; framed, 24″x 27″. Signed lower middle.



Louisianne Saint Fleurant, 1924-2005, Haiti, one of the original founders of the Saint Soleil school.







“The Padre” by Smith. Oil on canvas, 1989. 24″x 30″; framed, 27″x 33″. Signed, lower right.

Denis Smith, born 1954, Haiti. Youngest member of Saint Soleil and, along with Levoy Exil, one of the two surviving original members.


Other Haitian Artists

Gabriel Bien-Aimé, born 1951, Haiti. Considered one of the two best Haitian metal sculptors, along with Serge Jolimeau. He never uses templates and does all his own drawings. His work is in major galleries,including the Pompidou Centre in Paris. At left, “Steel, the Rasta Man,” 22”x 23”x 3”, rusted steel. Signature hammered in, lower middle.






LaFortune Félix, 1933-2016 An initiated Houngan Voudou priest, Félix worked primarily as a farmer in St Marc, in the old and poor Artibonite region. He work was drawn from his belief in the supernatural. One of the last of the great painters from Artibonite, Félix is the subject of a documentary film by Arnold Antonin. All of his paintings are signed lower right.

At right, ”Ferraille et Dantor,” 1988. Oil on masonite. 23”x 32”, framed 25-1/2”x 34-1/2”.





Oil on canvas by Gérard, 1988, in black steel floater frame. 31″x 41″.



Gérard Fortuné, born 1925-1935, Haiti. Self-taught, but became one of the best known Haitian artists. He is also one of the oldest, in his 80s or 90s. He is not sure of his age. His older, larger paintings such as these are more valuable. He goes by Gérard and sometimes signs his name in reverse.














André Pierre, c. 1915-2005. A muse of the filmmaker Maya Deren, Pierre was second in command at his houmfour (a voodoo temple). World renowned, he is considered the best of the second generation of Haitian artists and the spiritual heir to the legendary Hector Hippolyte. This rare pair of his oil paintings on canvas, above, of the voodoo loa Couzine Zaka Mede and the ogun Achade, are being sold together. Each painting measures 8”x 10”, framed, 14”x 16” Both signed lower right.


Antoinette Valmidor . Older sister of Jacques and aunt of Frantzy. Known as “Josie,” she was the cook at the famous Issa Gallery in Port au Prince for over 30 years. At right, Acrylic on canvas, 12”x 20”, framed, 15”x 23”. Signed lower right.



From the Dominican Republic

 Wifred Garcia, (Wifredo José Garcia Domenech) 1935-1988. Born in Barcelona, grew up in the Dominican Republic. Received a PhD in Chemistry at Kansas State University but worked as a photographer and founded the group Jueves 68 in Santiago as well as Fotogrupo in Santo Domingo. Known as the “Master of the Dominican Lens.” Internationally recognized with honors in Japan, the US, Europe, and Latin America. These photos have been reframed under glass. His signature appears on the original mats and the backs of the mounts, included.

At left, “El Matriarcado Serrano,” 1982, in black steel frame, 14-7/8” x 19”, frame size 21-1/2” x 25-1/2”. Very interesting “Female Leader from the Mountains.”



Unknown Artist.  Vintage painted wooden voodoo cross,  22” x 12”.








From Africa

Nkisi fetish figure, East Congo/Zaire, early 20th Century. Wood, cloth, mud, metal, egg, glass, paint. 25″x 13″x 8″, weighs 15 pounds.







These are just a selection of what will be shown.








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