Prosper Pierre-Louis


About the artist

Prosper Pierre-Louis was born in Bainet, in the south of Haiti, on October 12, 1947. At age 16 he moved to Port-au-Prince, where he apprenticed as a barber for a time before working as a waiter at the home of Maude Robard, who would in 1973, with the Haitian artist Tiga, organize a community of singers, dancers, craftspeople, actors, and painters into a movement that was named Saint Soleil. Prosper followed his friend Maude to the community at Soisson-la-Montagne and eventually became the most prominent painter in the group.

The Saint Soleil movement gained international recognition in 1975 when the French cultural icon André Malraux visited the community. It is said that Malraux was seated in a chair on a grassy knoll while the artists of Saint Soleil ascended the slope, encircling him, each holding a piece of their art. Malraux was blown away by the scene and immortalized the movement by featuring Saint Soleil prominently in his last book, L’Intemporel.

Saint Soleil disbanded after only a few years, but five of the artists (Prosper Pierre-Louis, Levoy Exil, Denis Smith, Paul Dieuseul, and Louisiane St. Fleurant) reorganized into the group Cinq Soleils. In cooperation with several French Cultural institutions, they opened a spacious and secure atelier in Soissons in 1989. Prosper was painting as well or better than ever when he died prematurely of an asthma attack in November 1996.