Valcin, G�rardH (1925�88)

   A tile�setter early in life, G�rard Valcin began painting in 1951 and quickly became one of the most acclaimed of Haitian artists. He's often ranked with Wilmino Domond and Andr� Pierre in a trio of 'leading artists of the "second generation."'
   I knew Valcin well and commissioned three works from him. He also obtained, for me, a badly damaged work by the legendary Hector Hyppolite which I later sold.
   A 'near�commission' was for another piece I've sold � Gaguerre ('Cock Fight'), the weakest of the lot. The work was mostly finished when Valcin foisted it upon me in 1987 � in exchange for a promise to bring him a color television set on my next visit. When I returned to Ha�ti the next year, Valcin had just died. I gave the TV to his son, home on bereavement leave from the army � the United States Army.

46. Woman in Red_
c1979 (30x24)


102. 'Papa Zaca'
1985 (24x20)









   My very first Valcin, Woman in Red, came from a gallery. I admire it anew each time it enters my field of vision. The woman is placed exactly where she ought not to be � dead�center in the painting. But the scheme works because of the way the artist exaggerates perspective in rendering the plants. (In early 2006 Galerie Metisse was offering a similar, though much smaller work, for $3,900. See the enlargement.)

   Though I had asked for paintings of Coumbite and Papa Zaca, I was disappointed when I picked them up: they are near�copies of works Valcin had done previously. He produced, in fact, several other Coumbites � the co�perative Haitian harvest. Mine is as good as any; but it's still a third, or a seventh, or�. (Clicking the thumbnail allows comparison with one other rendering.)
   Papa Zaca, the harvest god, is a special favorite of most Haitians. For good reason. He's always shown gorging himself � an excess that can only be a dream for most hungry Haitians. (An earlier version of Papa Zaca appears on the cover of Ute Stebich's Haitian Art: see Reading.)
   C�r�monie pour Grande Brijitte, on the other hand, is an original. Valcin told me he'd never painted a Brijitte, but had always wanted to � and he offered me a 'special price' if I'd agree to 'commission' one. It was an offer I couldn't refuse.


115. 'Agou�'
1984 (24x48)

  I love all my Valcins, and Woman in Red is a favorite, as a first of anything often is, but it is not my very favorite.
   Agou� is. I first saw the work in a gallery owner's Port�au�Prince home about a year after it was painted. It wasn't for sale. 'It's my favorite Valcin,' the dealer said. Over five years later � and nearly three years after Valcin's death � the gallery owner said he needed a new car. I got the painting � and by far the better half of the deal.

   Gerard Valcin was, like all too many Haitian artists, an alcoholic. According to a friend who knew him well, Valcin spent his mornings and afternoons painting and his evenings and nights drinking. He might have lived a good deal longer but for his addiction to rhum. But life in Ha�ti can easily drive one to drink.

101. 'Coumbite'
1984 (30x24)



109. 'C�r�monie pour Grande Brijitte'
1986 (24x20)
















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