Edouard Duval-Carrie on Hyppolite's Le Grand Maitre

Excerpt from Mystical Imagination: The Art of Haitian Master, Hector Hyppolite

Posted by mattdunndc@gmail.com on October 03, 2020

Edouard Duval-Carrie on Hyppolite's painting Le Grand Maitre

My first encounter with Hector Hyppolite dates way back. It was long before the Centre d’Art was relocated in a residential area of Port-au-Prince at the Ruelle Roy, and long before the building of the Musée du College St Pierre occupied a 19th century structure near the main park of the capital city. My mother, an art buff, took me to an exhibit of the works that were to be part of the permanent collection of the museum that was yet to be built.

I was transfixed at the sight of one particular painting representing le “Grand Maitre”, a three eyed vision of what Hyppolite considered to be the “Grand Master of the Universe. The painting had almost a psychedelic effect on me in the sense that the third eye seemed to appear and disappear at will. I was at first amused, and inquired about the artist and what the work really meant.

Francine Murat, then the administrative assistant, went into a tirade about how I had zeroed in on the masterpiece of the collection and she complimented my mother on having such a perceptive young boy.

It was no surprise that one of my first works depicted a two-colored eyed man in my triptych entitled "Azaka Agro Rex", now in the collection of the Figge Art Museum. It was my way of paying homage to an artist that had made such an impression on me at such a young age, and who happens to be the embodiment of what is universally considered as the Haitian genius.

Edouard Duval-Carrie - Mystical Imagination: The Art of Haitian Master, Hector Hyppolite, 2012