Edger Jean-Baptiste

1917-1992

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Edger Jean-Baptiste was born January 31, 1917 in Bainet.  Originally a cobbler and a tailor, Jean-Baptiste and his wife raised five daughters and two sons, one of whom is now deceased.  Before joining the Centre d’Art in 1954 with the help of Micius Stephane, he occasionally painted village scenes and characters on the surface of sun-bleached rocks chosen from the extraordinary Bay of Bainet shoreline, the rocks themselves worn to an incredible smoothness by the endless tidal movement of the surf.

 

Known by his devotees as the “Master of Twilight” for his frequent exploration of the effects of the shifting sun on the color of sky, clouds, and landscape, Jean-Baptiste was forced to stop painting in the late 1980s due to the onset of glaucoma and his subsequent loss of vision. Until his death, he lived with his wife  in their small house on the hillside overlooking the town and bay which Jean-Baptiste faithfully recorded for over thirty years.

 

Edger Jean-Baptiste’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Musee d’Art Haitien du College Saint Pierre in Port-au-Prince and the Yale University Art Gallery.

 

Danticat, Edwige, and Jonathan Demme.  Island on Fire.  New York:  Kaliko Press, 1995