Philomé Obin

  • Birth: July 20, 1892
  • Birthplace: Limbe, Haiti
  • Genre: Painters
  • Year Active: 1908-?


 Philome Obin, (born July 20, 1892, in Limbe) is one of the best known Haitian painters. At an early age, the young Philome showed some form of passion and a skill for drawing. At 16, with a rudimentary drawing instruction, he completed his first known painting. His first generation paintings are lost, since the Haitian middle class were more interested in French like paintings than the typical Obinlike ones. His paintings and drawings include some of the world's best known, and most expensive pieces of any Haitian painter. As Faubert Pierre loves to say:" color is the most important and the most indomitable element of painting". Philome is well known for his color choices and their expressive representations.

He has painted Second World War leaders such as Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill. The quintessential artist chooses not to immortalize other great historical personalities like Mrs. Jackie Onassis, President, Leopold Seder Senghor, and Alfred Metraux, all of whom have personally visited him in the late 1970s in Cap-Haitian. With uncanny ability, he can paint scenes that can convey strong messages. His nationalist pride can be seen in many of his works.

Although called a sophisticated naif, Obin's paintings are all enchanting. Some have questioned his sense of perspective, but most respected Obin geometrical precision and the poetic fervor in his paintings. His penchant for history is obvious in his works and the little details are breathtaking.

20 years after his death, many works can be purchased in some galleries worldwide and in the internet for prices ranging from 40.000- to 100000 dollars. The Crucifixion, a mural in St-Trinity cathedral of Port-Au-Prince is considered by many as his masterpiece. The patriarch of naive painting is immortal in our national conscience.

Philome Obin died in 1986 but his works are invaluable and many of his paintings are displayed in some museums throughout the world including:

* The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York
* The Milwaukee Art Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
* The New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana
* Museum Oswald d'Art, Amsterdam, Holland
* Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
* Museum of Art of La Jolla, La Jolla, California
* Hayward Gallery, London, England
* Society for the Arts, Palm Beach, Florida
* Pan American Union
* Musee d'art National, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
* The Lockwood Mathers Mansion Museum, Norwalk, Connecticut

- Paul Sanon -

Source: Haitian / American Sports and Education Network