Haitian Masterworks to Open Saturday, November 7 at the Figge Art Museum
October 29, 2020


Haitian Masterworks to Open Saturday, November 7 at the Figge Art Museum

Davenport, Iowa (October 29, 2020) – Did you know the Figge Art Museum is home to one of the oldest and largest collections of Haitian art in the United States? In 1967, Dr. Walter E. Neiswanger’s generous gift of Haitian paintings and sculptures established the collection, which has grown to include a dynamic range of artworks in many mediums and styles.

Curated from the museum collection, Haitian Masterworks will open on Saturday, November 7 in the Figge’s fourth-floor gallery. More than 70 artworks will be on view, including recent acquisitions, visitor favorites, and works from the permanent collection that have not been displayed for over a decade.   

Significant works by influential artists of the mid-late 20th century including Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, and Rigaud Benoit, will be featured, as well as the work of contemporary artists Frantz Zephirin, Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Didier William, among others. In addition to a range of talented artists, a variety of techniques will be represented, including beadwork, oil painting, woodcarving, and mixed media assemblage. Visitors will be able to appreciate each artist’s dynamic vision while also experiencing the broad cultural and social context that connects Haitian artists. Thematic sections focusing on history, everyday life, spirituality, and the natural world will explore the subject matter these artists embrace in their work.

“We are proud to be one of the few places outside of Haiti where visitors have the opportunity to view such a large and diverse collection of Haitian works,” said Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave. “Our vibrant, colorful, lively, and thought-provoking collection reflects the boundless creativity and vitality of Haitian art and sparks meaningful conversations about the Haitian culture, people, and history.” 

Since Dr. Neiswanger’s initial donation, the museum’s Haitian collection has continued to grow through strategic purchases and gifts. Haitian Masterworks demonstrates the ongoing expansion of the Figge’s collection, as well as the continuing evolution of Haitian art and artists of the Haitian Diaspora. The Figge’s recent acquisition N’ap naje ansamn, n’ap vole ansamn, by contemporary Haitian-American artist Didier William, is a powerful work melding William’s personal experience as a Haitian-American with the cultural history of Haiti in a dramatic combination of artistic styles and techniques.

“Our Haitian art collection is an important community resource, and through Haitian Masterworks we will share outstanding as well as rarely seen artworks with the Quad Cities,” said Figge Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage. “The stunning variety of artwork will amaze longtime museumgoers and new visitors alike, and engage our community with Haiti’s cultural, historical, and artistic significance.”

Haitian Masterworks will be on view through January 24, 2021.

Companion Programming:
Virtual Curator Talk: Vanessa Sage and Joshua Johnson
6:30 p.m. Thursday, November 12
Join exhibition curators Vanessa Sage and Joshua Johnson for a live introduction of the Haitian Masterworks exhibition, on view at the Figge through January 21, 2021. This online program is free but advanced registration is required by visiting

Free admission and programs for Thursdays at the Figge sponsored by Chris and Mary Rayburn

Members-Only Tour
6 p.m. Thursday, December 3
1 p.m. Wednesday, December 9
Free; registration required and limited to 10 people each tour. Join the curators of Haitian Masterworks, Joshua Johnson and Vanessa Sage, on an exclusive tour of the exhibition. Figge members will learn about the history and meaning hidden within the works selected for the exhibition.

Virtual Scholar Talk
6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 10

About the Figge Art Museum:
The Figge Art Museum is dedicated to bringing art and people together. Located on the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street, the Figge is the premier art exhibition and education facility between Chicago and Des Moines. Its landmark glass building, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections and hosts world-class traveling exhibitions, art classes, lectures, and special events that attract visitors of all ages. Museum hours are 10 a.m.­­-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made at or by calling 563-345-6632. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID and $4 children ages 4- 12. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and to all on Thursday evenings. The Figge Café is open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit  



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225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



Museum | 563.326.7804

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