Hector Hyppolite was born in 1894. He was recognized as Haiti's foremost painter from St-marc, Haiti. Hyppolite was educated as an apprentice shoemaker. He also worked as a cobbler, housepainter, furniture decorator, ship builder, and Innkeeper. A decisive figure in modern Haitian art, Hyppolite is generally considered to be the most important of the untrained painters in the mid twentieth century of his country. Details of his life are sparse but Hyppolite was known as a Houngan . During a five-year sojourn to Africa Hyppolite connection to the home of his ancestors was central to his artistic expression. In the early 1940's he began painting with an association with Le Centre d' Art in Port-au-Prince. By 1946, both Andr Breton and Wilfredo Lam were purchasing his work and hailing him as a master of naive art. UNESCO's 1947 exhibition in Paris gave Hyppolite a world-wide reputation. Pierre Apraxine wrote that "Hyppolite's psychic personality, his mediumistic abilities, as well as his thorough familiarity with the Haitian supernatural world, account for the spiritual quality which pervades each of his paintings...Hence, the subjects of his paintings transcend a literal interpretation and move toward mythical implications." Although by trade a house painter and shoemaker, Hyppolite claimed to have traveled to New York, Dahomey and Ethiopia during a period of five years before returning to the village of St. Marc in 1920. What followed was a brief but prolific period of creation that lasted until his death in 1948. The subjects of his work ranges from Christian themes, still life, and voodoo imagery. During the final years of his creative times, Hyppolite's paintings attracted international attention including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. A legend in his country, Hyppolite is known for his aesthetically complex yet highly intuitive paintings. He died in 1948, at the peak of his fame, leaving a legacy that has inspired a whole school of Haitian painting.
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