Nativity, c. 1950 signed 'Rigaud Benoit' (lower right) oil on masonite 20 x 16in (50.8 x 40.7cm)
PROVENANCE: Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida Private Collection, Minneapolis, Minnesota
In 1949, Rigaud Benoit, along with fellow Haitian artists Philomé Obin, Castera Bazile, and Gabriel Levêque, were commissioned to paint the apse in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Port-Au-Prince. This commission likely represents the first time that a native Haitian artist was invited and paid to create art in a public space in Haiti. Created around the time of the mural's completion, this painting contains the same composition as the now lost apse mural. The image is of a Haitian Madonna flanked by angels and surrounded by worshipers in a Haitian village setting. This historically significant mural was destroyed along with the cathedral in the earthquake of January 12, 2010.