Loading... Please wait...

New Book on Gerard Fortune

Gerard Fortune outside his home in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince

Gerard Fortune outside his home in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince

About 2 years ago, while in Haiti on a metal sculpture buying trip, Casey became aquainted with the folk art paintings of Gerard Fortune. Following quickly on the heels of her acquaintance were unbridled enthusiasm and acquisition. She purchased a piece for her personal collection and then set about to meet the artist himself with the idea of carrying his work at It’s Cactus.

"Fox Couple with Pet by Gerard Fortune

“Fox Couple with Pet by Gerard Fortune

Gerard Fortune has long been on the Haitian naif painting radar, and is considered to be one of the greatest living folk art painters in Haiti today. Having said that, however, doesn’t mean that finding his atelier was any small task. It required asking alot of questions in several places around the outdoor art markets of suburban Port-au-Prince and finally offering $20 to a kid on a motorcycle to lead her there. Done and done! The connection was made and now, several wonderful pieces of his work are available on our website.
But that’s not all! A friend, Tony Fisher, who has a wonderful folk art shop in Philadelphia, has sourced a newly published book of Gerard’s work. It is the first and only in-depth study of his life and art and it is BEAUTIFUL! You can order it from him.

The book, “Gerard” does a superb job of tracing his 37-year career, with dozens of full-color photograhs that capture his broad, visionary character of his art. In addition, it tells in words and photographs, the story of Gerard himself, inasmuch as the story of an enigma can be told. What is clear is richness of expression in the life’s work of a talented, gentle soul.

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

The Visual Feast: A peek into the workshop of Gerard Fortune

IMG_6075 (640x640)Where did the time go? Already it’s been a month since our return from Haiti – and such a great trip it was! Of course we spent a good deal of time in Croix-des-Bouquets visiting the metal artists, but we also took a trip up the hill beyond Petionville to Montagne Noire to pay a call on one of the pre-eminent naiive painters in the country, Gerard Fortune, It is nearly impossible to resist the charm and innocence of his paintings, so why try? We came back with an armload!

Gerard himself is a bit of enigma. In three tries to determine even the year of his birth, I came up with three different answers. In fact, I found out that a friend of ours asked him directly once and the reply was, “Well, I don’t really know.” The closest I can pinpoint is somewhere between 1925 and 1935. Working most of his adult life as a pastry chef, and also being a practicing hougan, Gerard began to teach himself to paint in the early 1980s.IMG_6084 (640x640)
In 1988, Selden Rodman published his masterful book on Haitian art, Where Art Is Joy, he included several of Gerard’s paintings – most in full-color plates. At once, Gerard’s place in the art world was established. Today, his work is part of permanent museum collections in the United States and in Europe, and is avidly sought by private collectors as well.

That having been said, he is a man of modest means. He lives and works in a two-room dwelling of cinderblock, mortar, and corrugated tin in the space between two towering mansions. Without running water or electricity, he and his older brother and younger sister, each in similar shanties nearby, share the chores of fetching water, laundry, and cooking. I use
the term “shanties” with a bit of reluctance. The word seems accurate, but it doesn’t convey the cheer of the brightly painted walls or the grace of the banana trees shading the windows, or the laughter of children playing outside. Theirs are the humble homes of the working poor, but they
are far from dreary.

IMG_6076 (640x640)Inside, paintings are everywhere. In stacks, hanging layer upon layer on the walls, and those in process on the table. A visual feast, to say the least. The hard part, as always,was choosing which ones to bring home.  Look here: https://www.itscactus.com/catalog/Haiti_Folk_Paintings-126-2.html  Now don’t you feel the same?


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

Sign up for our newsletter

  • Information

View Cart Go To Checkout