11 Works, RELIGIOUS ART – Contemporary, Haitian Art, & 20th Century Interpretation of the Bible! With Footnotes – 8

Roy Newell, 1914 – 2006

THE HOLY LAND, c. 1952

Oil on panel

4 1/2 by 11 1/2 inches (11.4 by 29.2 cm)

Private collection

An American abstract painter, Roy Newell was born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on May 10, 1914, and died of cancer on November 22, 2006, in Manhattan. His paintings are typified by richly-hued geometric forms in subtle juxtapositions and textures, heightened by an intimate scale and striking color harmonies. He participated in the Group of American Abstract Expressionists and was a founding member of the 8th Street Artist Club, which also included Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Franz Kline and Philip Pavia.

A self-taught artist, Newell was not a prolific painter. His works number less than 100 and were often executed over decades, as he constantly refined his compositions with new colours until satisfied with the result. Due to their continued reworkings, many of his paintings were up to an inch thick when completed, with a combined depth of wood support and layers of meticulously applied paint. Newell exhibited infrequently and sold very few of his paintings during his lifetime. However, his works are in notable public and private collections. More on Roy Newell

Amin Montazeri, Iranian, b. 1992

Hell, c. 2016

Mixed media on canvas

51.97 x 39.37 x 1.57 in. (132 x 100 x 4 cm.) 

Private collection

Artist Amin Montazeri is one of Tehran’s most promising emerging artists today. His work is inspired by the role that legends and myths have played throughout history. Both shaping history and being shaped by history, these tales have had a lasting impact, often reoccurring in different or similar forms over the course of history. Resembling a mosaic that could be found in the medieval churches of the past, Hell features the gruesome image of the darker side of the afterlife. Bodies contorted in agony are piled high leading to the central image of a burning tree where men are to be judged on a scale. The composition is brimming with various biblical references of deceitful serpents, ghoulish gargoyles, and angels. 

Amin Montazeri was born in 1992 in Tehran, Iran where he received his B.F.A. in painting and is currently receiving his M.F.A in painting from the College of Fine Arts in Tehran. Montazeri’s work has been included in exhibitions at galleries such as Dastan’s Basement and Arya Gallery in Tehran. In 2015 and 2016, his work was featured at Art Dubai in Dastan’s Basement booth. More on Artist Amin Montazeri

Saint Praxedes, – Vermeer

Peter Lindbergh & Julianne Moore

Saint Praxedes is a traditional Christian saint of the 2nd century. She is sometimes called Praxedis or Praxed. Little is known about Praxedes, and not all accounts agree. According to Jacobus de Voragine’s The Golden Legend, Praxedes was the sister of Saint Pudentiana; their brothers were Saint Donatus and Saint Timothy. 

When the Emperor Marcus Antoninus was hunting down Christians, she sought them out to relieve them with money, care, comfort and every charitable aid. Some she hid in her house, others she encouraged to keep firm in the faith, and of yet others she buried the bodies; and she allowed those who were in prison or toiling in slavery to lack nothing. At last, being unable any longer to bear the cruelties inflicted on Christians, she prayed to God that, if it were expedient for her to die, she might be released from beholding such sufferings. And so on July 21 she was called to the reward of her goodness in Heaven. More on Saint Praxedes

Peter Lindbergh & Julianne Moore

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

He was recognized during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, but his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death. In the 19th century, Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him, although only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time, Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. More Vermeer

Saint Praxedes – Vermeer

Peter Lindbergh (born Peter Brodbeck on November 23, 1944) is a German photographer and film director. Lindbergh is known for his cinematic images. As a teenager, he worked as window dresser for the Karstadt and Horten department stores in Duisburg. The vast beaches and the industrial settings of his hometown Duisburg, have influenced his work strongly over the years. In the early 1960s, he moved to Lucerne and months later to Berlin where he enrolled in the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. He hitchhiked to Arles in the footsteps of his idol, Vincent van Gogh. After several months in Arles, he continued through to Spain and Morocco, a journey that took him two years.

Returning to Germany, he studied Abstract Art at the College of Art in Krefeld (North Rhine-Westphalia). Influenced by Joseph Kosuth and the Conceptual art movement, he was invited in 1969, before graduating, to present his work at the avant-garde Galerie Denise René. These works were exhibited in the Objets ludiques exhibition at the Tinguely Museum in Basel in 2014. After moving to Düsseldorf in 1971, he turned his attention to photography and worked for two years assisting German photographer Hans Lux, before opening his own studio in 1973. Becoming well known in his native country, he joined the Stern magazine family along with photographers Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Hans Feurer. More Peter Lindbergh

Julianne Moore (born Julie Anne Smith; December 3, 1960) is an American actress, prolific in films since the early 1990s. She is particularly known for her portrayals of emotionally troubled women in both independent and Hollywood films, and has received many accolades, including the 2014 Academy Award for Best Actress.

After studying theatre at Boston University, Moore began her career with a series of television roles. From 1985 to 1988. Her film debut was in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). Moore first received critical attention with Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), and successive performances in Vanya on 42nd Street (1994) and Safe (1995) continued this acclaim. Starring roles in the blockbusters Nine Months (1995) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) established her as a leading actress in Hollywood.

Moore received considerable recognition in the late 1990s and early 2000s, earning Oscar nominations for Boogie Nights (1997), The End of the Affair (1999), Far from Heaven (2002) and The Hours (2002). The year 2014 was key for Moore, as she gave an Oscar-winning performance as an Alzheimer’s patient in Still Alice, was named Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Maps to the Stars, and joined the lucrative Hunger Games series.

In addition to acting, Moore has written a series of children’s books. More on Julianne Moore

Gerard Paul, (Haitian, 20th c.)

Saint George Slaying Dragon, circa 1970’s

Mixed media on paper

20 x 22 inches

Private collection

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a soldier in the Roman army who later became venerated as a Christian martyr. His parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was from Lydda, Syria Palaestina. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity. More on Saint George 

Gerard Paul was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 9, 1943. He has been a man of many trades including mason and cabinet maker. While working as a house painter in 1965 he used left over paint to start his career as an artist, selling to Mrs. Malsy Minsk, the German ambassador’s wife. In 1972 Paul found gallery representation that led to a solo Paris exhibition that same year. He is known for Vodou themes, everyday scenes and compositions that reflect Haiti’s agricultural and maritime history. More on Gerard Paul

Dieuseul Paul, (Haitian/Damiens, b. 1952)

Blue Loa (floating with delicate flowers), dated 1985

Oil on masonite

30 x 24 inches

Private collection

Loa are the spirits of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo. They are also referred to as “mystères” and “the invisibles” and are intermediaries between Bondye (French: Bon Dieu, meaning “good God”)—the Supreme Creator, who is distant from the world—and humanity. Unlike saints or angels, however, they are not simply prayed to, they are served. They are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, songs, dances, ritual symbols, and special modes of service. Contrary to popular belief, the loa are not deities in and of themselves; they are intermediaries for, and dependent on, a distant Bondye.

The word loa (or lwa) comes from the French “les lois;” the laws in English

Born in Damiens, Haiti, Dieuseul Paul is one of the original members of the Saint Soleil school of art.  This art movement was born in 1973.  Most of its paintings depict dream-like images of Vodou spirits and loa and the Saint Soleil artists themselves often speak of the painting process as being one that is conducted in a spiritual state. More on Dieuseul Paul

Gerard Paul, (Haitian, 20th c.)

Saint George and the Dragon, circa 1970’s

Oil on board

20 x 22 inches

Private collection

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD), see above

Gerard Paul (Haitian, 20th c., see above

LaFortune Felix, (Haitian/Pontsonde, 1933-2016)

Saint Holding Cross and Feather, circa 1970’s

Oil on canvas

16 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches

Private collection

Strong composition of the syncretic synthesis between Christian and African religions that created Haitian Vodou.

Born 1933 in Pontsonde, Haiti. Lafortune Felix lives in St. Marc where he is a farmer and formally a voodoo priest. Through the wall paintings which he decorated his temple, he came to the attention of Pierre Monosiet, the late curator of the St. Pierre College Museum of Haitian Art. Provided with materials, the artist began painting on masonite in 1972.

Felix draws his content from his knowledge of and concern with the supernatural. His self-assured, forceful personality and the power of his vision endow his work with an intensity. Very temperamental by nature, Felix portrays highly active scenes. There is drama and breathless wonder in his dynamic brushwork. His preference for strong color betrays the origin of his pictorial perception: the need and desire to impress the worshipper as well as the loas. More on Lafortune Felix

LaFortune Felix (Haitian/Pontsonde, 1933-2016)

Erzulie Apparition by Rowers, circa 1970’s

Oil on masonite, 22 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

Private collection

Erzulie is a family of loa, or spirits in Vodou. Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the Haitian African spirit of love, beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury, and flowers. She wears three wedding rings, one for each husband. Her symbol is a heart, her colours are pink, blue, white and gold, and her favourite sacrifices include jewellery, perfume, sweet cakes and liqueurs. Coquettish and very fond of beauty and finery, Erzulie Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet she also has a darker side; she is seen as jealous and spoiled and within some Vodoun circles is considered to be lazy. During ritual possession, she may enter the body of either a man or a woman. She enjoys the game of flirtation and seduces people without distinguishing between sexes. In Christian iconography she is often identified with the Mater Dolorosa, as well as another loa named, Metres Ezili. She is conceived of as never able to attain her heart’s most fervent desire. For this reason she always leaves a service in tears. Her syncretic iconographical depiction is usually based on that of the Virgin and Child, because she is the mother of Ti. Common syncretizations include Iyalorde Oxum as she relates to the Yoruba Vodu goddess of Erotic Love, Gold and Femininity. More on Erzulie 

LaFortune Felix (Haitian/Pontsonde, 1933-2016), see above

Camy Rocher, (Haitian/Baraderes, 1959-1980)

Mambo Ceremony for Erzulie, dated 1979

Oil on masonite

24 x 24 inches

Private collection

Rare and early example of a religious painting by Camy Rocher who died at the early age of 21, leaving us a small but strong body of work that is highly collectible.

Erzulie, see above

Camy Rocher (Haitian/Baraderes, 1959-1980) may be unique in art history by establishing himself as an important painter with a very significant body of highly acclaimed work, while having lived only 23 short years.

Rocher was born in 1959 in Baraderes, on the southern peninsula of Haiti, and died tragically in 1981. Despite his short life, his works – which depict almost exclusively scenes of vodou practices and figures – are illustrated in almost every important reference on Haitian art. His works rarely appear on the market, and they are widely sought by collectors.

Rocher began to paint at the age of 12 or 13 under the patronage of the renowned artist Calixte Henry. Rocher’s goal was to bear witness to his deeply engrained Vodou culture. More on Camy Rocher

Pauleus Vital, (Haitian/Jacmel, 1918-1984)

Scourging of Christ, circa 1970’s

Oil on Masonite

12 x 16 inches

Private collection

The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, and a Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi. The Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column. More on The Flagellation of Christ

Pauleus Vital, born in October, 1917 in Jacmel, was a cabinetmaker and a shipbuilder in Jacmel before joining the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince at the encouragement of his half brother Prefete Duffaut in 1958.  He later returned to Jacmel, where he continued to paint until his death on June 18, 1984.

He is included in the permanent collection of the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Waterloo Museum of Art in Iowa, and the Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey. More on Pauleus Vital

Acknowledgement: Sotheby’sZQ Art, and others


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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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