Gourgue, Jacques-Enguerrand (1930 - 1996)

Magic Table (1947)
Magic Table (1947)

Jacques-Enguerrand Gourgue is the son of a French psychiatrist and a Haitian woman said to have been a mambo. He does not like to talk about his parents, whose relationship seems to have been problematic, a situation that made his childhood an unhappy one. As he recalls, his creativity surfaced early. Drawing and painting became his favorite subjects in school. He joined the Centre d’Art in 1947. At age seventeen he finished The Magic Table, now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Never formally trained, Gourgue has mastered all the techniques of the academician, without losing his highly personal style. His visual vocabulary was established from the very beginning. The mountains of Haiti, skeletal trees, peasants and their huts, poor people, and all the accoutrements of voodoo are the main elements out of which he composes paintings which often seem surrealistic.

Gourgue’s imagery is not easily interpreted by those not familiar with Haitian life, folklore, and religion. Juxtaposing familiar objects in a personal, always new and surprising way, his works seem to resist rather than to invite analysis. The artist’s intention is to force the viewer to meet him on the level of the subconscious, giving free rein to emotion and fantasy. Gourgue’s work can be sad and shocking, haunting and frightening. It is never happy. ..

Gourgue is a prolific artist. Not all of his work is successful, yet he is certainly one of the foremost Haitian artists today. He lives in Spain with his Spanish wife and their daughter, but he returns to Haiti, the source of his art, every year for several months.

Centre-dArt Port-au-Prince
Cemetery, n.d.
Cemetery, n.d.
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Ritualistic Symbols, 1950s
Ritualistic Symbols, 1950s
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Untitled, 1986
Untitled, 1986
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Lwa Spirits, 1970s
Lwa Spirits, 1970s
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Gessen Collection
Still Life
Still Life
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Yvonne and Glenn Stokes Collection
Carnival by Sea , 1990s
Carnival by Sea , 1990s
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Black Magic, 1967
Black Magic, 1967
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Merwoman
Merwoman
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Edith A. Graham Collection
Mother to Birth Tough Road
Mother to Birth Tough Road
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Franciscus Collection
Three Drums, 1952
Three Drums, 1952
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Reclining Nude, 1990
Reclining Nude, 1990
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Cemetery, 1990
Cemetery, 1990
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Untitled, 1985
Untitled, 1985
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Untitled (Still Life with Fish and Fruit), 1990
Untitled (Still Life with Fish and Fruit), 1990
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Ti Celia, 1970
Ti Celia, 1970
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Zombies, 1960s
Zombies, 1960s
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Untitled (Harbor Town), 1985
Untitled (Harbor Town), 1985
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Nature Morte au Poisson, 1978
Nature Morte au Poisson, 1978
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Untitled, 1970s
Untitled, 1970s
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Untitled, 1970s
Untitled, 1970s
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Marcus Rediker Collection
Men pushing Cart, 1960-70s
Men pushing Cart, 1960-70s
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Fondation Marie et Georges S. Nader
Vodou Creatures, 1960s
Vodou Creatures, 1960s
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Gessen Collection
Vodou Icons, 1970s
Vodou Icons, 1970s
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Gessen Collection
Police Rural, 1960s
Police Rural, 1960s
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Matt Dunn Collection
Village, 1968
Village, 1968
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Untitled (By Water Fountain), 1969
Untitled (By Water Fountain), 1969
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Untitled Woodcut, 1947
Untitled Woodcut, 1947
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Museum of Modern Art
Preparation of Religious Offering, 1957
Preparation of Religious Offering, 1957
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Island On Fire: Jonathan Demme
Peasant Crucifixtion, 1970
Peasant Crucifixtion, 1970
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Selden Rodman Gallery at Ramapo College
Magic Table, 1947
Magic Table, 1947
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Museum of Modern Art