Bigaud, Wilson (Haitian, 1931 - 2010)

Portrait of Wilson Bigaud
Portrait of Wilson Bigaud

WILSON BIGAUD b. Port-au-Prince, 1931 1

Wilson Bigaud first had the notion to become an artist from watching his neighbor, Hector Hyppolite, paint. He did a few sculptures out of clay, which he took to the Centre d'Art. DeWitt Peters suggested that he should try painting instead, which turned out to be Bigaud's real medium. He joined the Centre d'Art in 1946.

Bigaud's art gave new meaning and purpose to his life. It gave him both the possibility of overcoming poverty and desperation and the opportunity to release inner tensions and express his own thoughts about the social fabric of Haitian life. However, he suffered a series of nervous breakdowns between 1957 and 1961. According to Rigaud Benoit, who knew him very well, a shooting in Bigaud's neighborhood caused his illness. The years of his creativity and collapse were years of political upheaval in Haiti. Con­sidering the artist's themes in retrospect, it is as if he antici­pated the events that eventually overwhelmed his sensibil­ity. He is said to live now in Petit-Goave under the close surveillance of his family.

Bigaud's masterpiece is the mural Marriage at Cana, exe­cuted between 1950 and 1951 for Holy Trinity Cathedral. The wedding scene can be understood as a pretext for showing Haitian life as the artist sees it. Most of his themes are included. The murder in the jungle, the cemetery, the unnerving rhythm of the drums and the primeval sounds of rara, the poverty, and the mystery of voodoo are all bathed in a strange yellow light typical of Bigaud's work. In his paintings, the world is transformed into a demonic place, full of violent feelings, held together by the power of authority.

Characteristic of Bigaud's style is an emphasis on perspective and volume and an awareness of the effects of light and shadow. His color range was broad, although he rarely used pure, bright colors. Bigaud has continued to paint, but his work is no longer of high quality. The colors are now chalky and muddy. The themes have become more peaceful and subdued, awakening hopes for a recovery and a return to previous greatness.

Cats. 24 —27, 130, 131

1 -  Stebich, Ute. Haitian art. New York: Brooklyn Museum Exclusively distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1978. Print.


Further Reading - Wilson Bigaud: Life on the Edge, by Haitian Art Society Founder Larry Kent

Centre-dArt
Adam and Eve, 1970s
Adam and Eve, 1970s
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Jonathan Cheek Family Collection
Carnaval, 1958
Carnaval, 1958
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The Game, 1947
The Game, 1947
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Gallery of Everything
Untitled (Drowning Victim), 1950s
Untitled (Drowning Victim), 1950s
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Gallery of Everything
Ceremony Erzulie, 1946
Ceremony Erzulie, 1946
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Gallery of Everything
Untitled (Carnival, Costumed Pigs), 1957
Untitled (Carnival, Costumed Pigs), 1957
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Adam and Eve, 1953
Adam and Eve, 1953
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Zombi, 1965
Zombi, 1965
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Assasin
Assasin
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Waterloo Center For the Arts
Rural Farm (Untitled),1950s
Rural Farm (Untitled),1950s
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Rara, 1965
Rara, 1965
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Cattle, 1966
Cattle, 1966
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Bardes Amis
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Wedding Party
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Christmas Party
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Women in the Shower Room, 1955
Women in the Shower Room, 1955
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Edith A. Graham Collection
Beach Scene, 1949
Beach Scene, 1949
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Island On Fire: Jonathan Demme
Cows on the Street
Cows on the Street
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Franciscus Collection
Fishing with Net from Boat
Fishing with Net from Boat
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Franciscus Collection
Leaving House for Market
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Franciscus Collection
Bathers on a Beach, 1957
Bathers on a Beach, 1957
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Lasirene, 1960s
Lasirene, 1960s
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Patrick Jamieson Collection
Adam and Eve, 1980s
Adam and Eve, 1980s
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Gessen Collection
Lasiren Endiablee, 1952
Lasiren Endiablee, 1952
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Untitled (Man in Ra Ra Costume)
Untitled (Man in Ra Ra Costume)
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Paul Gardere Collection
Market, 1980
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Fondation Marie et Georges S. Nader
Man in RaRa Costume, 1980s
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Gessen Collection
Party Time, 1970s
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Dejeunner, 1970s
Dejeunner, 1970s
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Still Life with Hibiscus, 1993
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Man Offering Drink
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Vodou Ceremony
Vodou Ceremony
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Waterloo Center For the Arts
Cafe, 1970
Cafe, 1970
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Spencer Museum of Art
Three Zombies, 1953
Three Zombies, 1953
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Aubergines, 1962
Aubergines, 1962
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Pia and Gerald Alexis Collection
Landscape of La Tortue, 1962
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Pia and Gerald Alexis Collection
Conflicts and Tensions, 1957
Conflicts and Tensions, 1957
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By the River
By the River
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Matt Dunn Collection
Les Petits Blageurs, 1956
Les Petits Blageurs, 1956
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Matt Dunn Collection
Africaine Carnival, 1951
Africaine Carnival, 1951
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Island On Fire: Jonathan Demme Private A10010
Murder in the Jungle, 1950
Murder in the Jungle, 1950
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Museum of Modern Art
Market Day, 1970's
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Matt Dunn Collection
Two Men working in field, 1948-49
Two Men working in field, 1948-49
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
La Ronde, 1956
La Ronde, 1956
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Baron Samedi in Cemetery
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Chickens (En Mangeant du Maiz), 1957
Chickens (En Mangeant du Maiz), 1957
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Hougans Visit, 1950
Hougans Visit, 1950
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Rara, 1952
Rara, 1952
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Section Chief, 1951
Section Chief, 1951
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan