Yesterday was June 11th. It would have been Gesner Armand’s 72nd birthday. One of Haiti’s finest impressionists, he was born in Croix-des-Bouquets. And if the place is not pretty, the name is, which evokes colorful bunches of flowers and suits this painter whose luminous and delicate colors enchanted us.
Armand painted Haiti’s birds, its trees, its fruits, its straw chairs and peasants’ hats, its cemeteries and its children with sensitive sophistication and tender yet intense hues. Pigeons were an often-visited theme and paintings that explore their form and color are so numerous as to suggest an obsessive passion for the subject.
Exhibiting his paintings all over the world, he echoed the beauty he felt about Haiti, making it visible to others through the luminosity of his colors and his painterly touch.
He studied at the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince, in Mexico city and in Paris, using smooth watercolors at first, switching later to curved brush strokes in oil. In 1984, he became the director of the Museum of Haitian Art at the College St. Pierre and held that post until 1992. The visual artist also revealed himself a poet and published a volume of poetry “L’autre bord” (The other side) with Les Editions Mémoires. Much later, vision problems would plague this master of light and force him to retreat in isolation in his studio.
Kabbalah states “First we receive the light, then we impart it. Thus we repair the world.”
Gesner Armand takes his leave of this world, having given us the light and beauty of his paintings.
June 11, 1936- June 10, 2008
Artwork: Galleries Nader, Carrie, Tropical