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Claude Dambreville (1934-2021)

Claude Dambreville (1934-2021)

A Market Day - Circa 1990

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Claude Dambreville was a Haitian writer and painter, born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, December 17, 1934. He began writing and drawing at an early age. He started his professional career as an artist in 1968 at the Centre d'Art Haitien in Port-au-Prince, founded by American artist Dewitt Peters. At about the same time, he took correspondence courses from the ABC school in Paris and then studied artistic anatomy at L'Atelier, a Haitian school owned by the artist Nehemy Jean. During his time at the school, he began to work successfully full-time as an artist. While studying at L'Atelier in 1973, he met and married the daughter of one of his teachers, Bettyna Savain. In 1981 he received a grant from the United States to tour art schools and museums lecturing on his work and Haitian art. He and his wife settled in Puerto Plate, Dominican Republic, from 1999 to 2011, then moved to Miami, Florida.

Dambreville drew his inspiration from the popular and rustic life of Haiti. He was renowned for using flat colours, “strong light and deep shadows” particularly to depict his favourite subject – women of the markets. They are represented in long white or blue silhouettes selling their products at the market. Turbans, hats and baskets enhance the pastel tones of their outfits. He sought to capture the expressive line and form which gives these figures their essential character. He had a unique ability to use these techniques to show the strength, the dignity and the grace of his subjects. His art is considered too sophisticated to be included in the Haitian “primitive” category, yet retains that honestly naïve character of great Haitian art.

His works have been among others in the large collections of the Centre d'Art Haitien, the Nader Gallery, the Musée du Collège St-Pierre, the Festival Art Gallery, the Jolicoeur Gallery, the Hôtel Oloffson, the Hôtel Castel Haiti, Galerie Issa, Red Carpet Gallery and Medalia Gallery. Some foreign personalities like Pierre Cardin, Denzel Washington and Danielle Mitterand also have works by Claude in their private collections.

While Dauberville was best known for his art, he was also a journalist and a writer. Between 1956 and 1968 he was the Director of the radio station Radio-Tropiques. He was the author of over 100 stories and articles, and the novel “Coup de tonnerre”. In 1983 he received the Deschamps prize for "Un goût de fiel" and in 1995 he co-authored the novel “L’Amérique saigne” with Frankétienne, which became a best seller in Haiti.

Claude Dambreville died on March 15, 2021 at the age of 86.

Sources: Wikipedia; Florida International University Art Collection; Ici Haiti.

Artist: Claude Dambreville (1934-2021).
Signed in the lower right.
Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
Condition: Excellent condition.
Dimensions: 92 x 61 cm. / 36 x 24 in.
Frame: 112 x 81 cm. / 44 x 32 in. Wood, very good condition.
Provenance: Private Collection, Ontario, Canada.

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