Haitian Art Co.
Oil on Canvas
Born 1893 in Petionville, Haiti.|
Robert St. Brice apparently came from a background of poverty and had no schooling at all. Accepting all sorts of jobs to survive, he reached the turning point of his life when he took the American artist Alex John into his house as a paying guest. Fascinated by the act of painting, St. Brice followed John's example. He joined the Centre d'Art in 1949. He was deeply involved in Vodou and claimed to be a houngan.
To St. Brice, the inner eye was all-important; he felt no need to depict the visible world around him. He conceived of painting as a mystical act, perfect for the transmission of his religious convictions. He used his dreams as a source of inspiration. His dreams were messages from his Indian and African ancestors. He is considered one of the dream painters. His tadpole men, mermaids and loas-trinity have a power of primitive expression comparable to totems or Indian amulets. His images seem always in a state of transformation, appearing and disappearing like shooting stars. The organic forms are only roughly outlined, ready to dissolve into the void of the background. Depending on the strength of his vision, the shapes can have expressive features such as eyes and mouth. The eyes especially hint of Vodou-they are of snakes. St. Brice himself, however, was quite the contrast of his paintings: jovial, affectionate and articulate, finding friendship and love the most important things in life.
Robert St. Brice is one of the 54 Haitian artists included in the World Encyclopedia of Na´ve Art, by Chartwell Books, Inc., 1984. He has been shown and published extensively.
St Brice Died in 1973 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.