Pierre, Andre (Haitian, 1916 – 2005)

Andre Pierre as Baron Samedi, 1987.  Photo by Stuart Rome
Andre Pierre as Baron Samedi, 1987. Photo by Stuart Rome

Andre Pierre was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti around 1915 and moved at an early age to Croix-des-Missions on the outskirts of the capital where he made his living as a farmer. He had practiced Voudou since childhood and in the late 1940's met the American filmmaker Maya Deren who had come to Haiti to make a film on dance but became a initiate in the houmfour where he was La Place, second in command. The houmfour was decorated with gourds on which he had painted images of vodou spirits and it was Ms. Deren who suggested to him that he should paint on canvas and offer his paintings to the Centre d'Art, which he did. Shortly afterwards he began a twenty year relationship with the dealer Issa el Saieh and went early each morning to the capital to paint in the atelier that Issa provided. Eventually he became so renowned, not only for his art but for his personality, that he stopped going to Issa's and painted in the compound where he lived and where he had built his own houmfour; he was by then a Houngan. 

Andre Pierre was the dominant artist of the second generation, spiritual heir to the legendary Hector Hyppolite. Collectors and journalists from all over the world came to visit him in the modest hut where he painted lovingly detailed portraits of the gods of the vodou pantheon by the light of an oil lamp. In the mid-1970's the place had a thatched roof and chickens strutted in and out the door. Often his visitors brought a bottle of rum which he would open and pour three drops on the dirt floor of the hut to honor the Trinity, " Pou lepere, e lefis, e lesentespri" he intoned in his ancient voice. He would take a sip, pass the bottle and sit at his easel, chanting songs and instructing his guests about the postive aspects of the religion. His mission in life was to present Vodou as respectable, on a par with all the other major religions. His pronouncements, on Vodou and on life in general were wise and sophisticated and were often punctuated with his trademark subterranean chuckle. As the political situation in Haiti worsened in the mid 1990's and the road to Croix-des-Missions became less safe to travel, he became somewhat isolated. In the last few years of his life he was diagnosed with diabetes which affected his eyesight and his ability to paint. By 2004 he was almost totally blind and had stopped painting altogether. Andre Pierre passed away on October 4, 2005.

Ogoun Chambo
Ogoun Chambo
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Franciscus Collection
Annual Offering to Agoue and La Sirene, 1965
Annual Offering to Agoue and La Sirene, 1965
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Patrick Jamieson Collection
LaSirene in Jungle, 1960-70s
LaSirene in Jungle, 1960-70s
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Gessen Collection
LaSirene, 1990s
LaSirene, 1990s
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Gessen Collection
Ceremony with Agou and Lasirene, 1970
Ceremony with Agou and Lasirene, 1970
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Fondation Marie et Georges S. Nader
Lasirene
Lasirene
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Fondation Marie et Georges S. Nader
St. Jacques, 1970s
St. Jacques, 1970s
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Gessen Collection
Agoue, 1970s
Agoue, 1970s
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Gessen Collection
Baron Samedi and Guede Nibo, 1985
Baron Samedi and Guede Nibo, 1985
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Gessen Collection
Roi du Vodoun (Vodou Royalty), 1978
Roi du Vodoun (Vodou Royalty), 1978
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Island On Fire: Jonathan Demme
Untitled
Untitled
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Selden Rodman Gallery at Ramapo College
Oggun Balendo
Oggun Balendo
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Fulling Collection
Oggun Balendo
Oggun Balendo
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Fulling Collection
Ezili Dantor
Ezili Dantor
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Fulling Collection
Ceremony with Bull
Ceremony with Bull
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Fulling Collection
Ezili Dantor
Ezili Dantor
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Fulling Collection
Oggun Balendjo
Oggun Balendjo
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Fulling Collection
Agawou Toner
Agawou Toner
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Fulling Collection
Metres Lasiren
Metres Lasiren
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Fulling Collection
Grann Ayizan Avelekete
Grann Ayizan Avelekete
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Fulling Collection
Bossou Twa Kon
Bossou Twa Kon
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Fulling Collection
Pantheon of Voudou Dieties
Pantheon of Voudou Dieties
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Fulling Collection
Kafou Boumba
Kafou Boumba
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Fulling Collection
Ogoun Batagry
Ogoun Batagry
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Fulling Collection
Maitre Ogoun Achade
Maitre Ogoun Achade
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Fulling Collection
Maitre Ogoun Achade
Maitre Ogoun Achade
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Fulling Collection
Nanchon Congo
Nanchon Congo
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Fulling Collection
Zaka Mede
Zaka Mede
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Fulling Collection
Kouzen Ak Kouzen Azaka
Kouzen Ak Kouzen Azaka
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Fulling Collection
Kouzen Azaka
Kouzen Azaka
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Fulling Collection
Maitresse Erzuly Laforet
Maitresse Erzuly Laforet
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Fulling Collection
Ibo Balisagne
Ibo Balisagne
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Fulling Collection
Agwe
Agwe
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Fulling Collection
Damballa Wedo
Damballa Wedo
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Fulling Collection
Damballa Wedo
Damballa Wedo
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Fulling Collection
Les Trois Esprits Du Cimetière
Les Trois Esprits Du Cimetière
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Fulling Collection
Grande Brigitte Lacroix
Grande Brigitte Lacroix
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Fulling Collection
Baron Samdi
Baron Samdi
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Fulling Collection
Guede Mazaka
Guede Mazaka
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Fulling Collection
Kafou Boumba
Kafou Boumba
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Fulling Collection
Retour Des Esprits Guinen
Retour Des Esprits Guinen
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Fulling Collection
Ceremonie Tambour
Ceremonie Tambour
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Fulling Collection
The Three Spirits
The Three Spirits
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Fulling Collection
Agarou Tonnerre
Agarou Tonnerre
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Fulling Collection
Miss Erzulie Freda
Miss Erzulie Freda
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Fulling Collection
Ogoun Achade
Ogoun Achade
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Fulling Collection
La Reine Congo
La Reine Congo
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Fulling Collection
Ogoun Achade
Ogoun Achade
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Fulling Collection
Marasa Guinen
Marasa Guinen
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Fulling Collection
Letwawa
Letwawa
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Fulling Collection
Kouzen Azaka
Kouzen Azaka
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Fulling Collection
La Reine Des Forêts
La Reine Des Forêts
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Fulling Collection
Damballa Wèdo
Damballa Wèdo
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Fulling Collection
Bosou Twa Kón
Bosou Twa Kón
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Fulling Collection
La Sirenne, 1981
La Sirenne, 1981
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Matt Dunn Collection
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7
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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6
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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5
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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4
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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3
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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2
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
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1
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Andre Pierre Exhibit
Gran Brigitte La Croix
Gran Brigitte La Croix
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Matt Dunn Collection
Roua Rouangol and Simby Rouangol
Roua Rouangol and Simby Rouangol
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Matt Dunn Collection
Andre Pierre - Two Men Dyptich
Andre Pierre - Two Men Dyptich
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Man by Tree, 1968
Man by Tree, 1968
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Baron Samedi
Baron Samedi
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan
Andre Pierre - Two Men Diptych
Andre Pierre - Two Men Diptych
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Beverly and John Fox Sullivan