Jean-Claude Severe was a Haitian artist born in Cap Haitien in the 1950s. He was a disciple of Philome Obin, a renowned Haitian artist who is considered one of the founders of the Cap-Haitian style of painting. According to Issa el Saieh, Philome thought of Severe as a son and considered him one of his most talented students.
Severe began his artistic journey as a painter, focusing on daily life and historical subjects, which is a characteristic of the Cap-Haitian style of painting. His paintings were scarce, but they demonstrated his exceptional talent and artistic ability. Unfortunately, in the late 1970s, Severe decided to forsake painting in favor of a steady paycheck. He took up a job as a waiter on a cruise ship, which has been his occupation for the last twenty years.
Despite his decision to leave the art world, Severe’s legacy as an artist lives on. He is remembered for his beautiful paintings that captured the essence of Haitian life and history. His works were characterized by vivid colors, intricate details, and a deep appreciation for Haitian culture.
The Cap-Haitian style of painting, which Severe was a part of, emerged in the 1940s and 50s. It was a response to the political and social changes that were taking place in Haiti at the time. The artists who belonged to this movement sought to capture the essence of Haitian life and culture through their paintings. They depicted scenes from daily life, as well as historical events and personalities.
Jean-Claude Severe’s paintings were notable for their attention to detail and his ability to capture the beauty of Haitian life. His works were a celebration of Haitian culture, and they served as a reminder of the rich history and traditions of the Haitian people.
In conclusion, Jean-Claude Severe was a talented artist who made significant contributions to the Cap-Haitian style of painting. Although he decided to leave the art world and pursue a career as a waiter, his legacy as an artist lives on through his beautiful paintings. His works are a testament to the rich history and culture of Haiti, and they continue to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.
Jean Claude Severe (Haitian/Cap-Haitien, 20th c.)
Le Vaudou Haitien, circa 1972
Oil on Masonite, 20 x 24 inches
Framed dimensions: 20 ¾ x 24 ¾ inches
Nader Art Gallery, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Fahimie Marks Collection, Christies 19, May 1992, Sale 7295