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Sold at Auction: Luce Turnier

Painter

Biography

Luce Turnier (February 24, 1924 – 1994) was a Haitian painter and collage artist. One of Haiti's leading artists, Turnier achieved international renown for her fusion of Haitian culture and modernist style.

Early life, education, and work: Turnier was born in Jacmel, Haiti, in 1924. After a hurricane devastated southern Haiti in 1937, Turnier's family relocated to Port-au-Prince.

She began painting in 1944 when, at the age of 21, she enrolled at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince and became one of the art school/gallery's founding members. As a young artist, she admired the work of Candido Portinari and Käthe Kollwitz, though she reported growing out of these early influences. In a 1983 interview, Turnier described her early art education: "When I worked at the Art Centre, we started with still life and model. We had ... a nude, two models, and still life. ... On Saturday we used to go out to do landscape."

N'zengou-Tayo described Turnier, along with Marie-Josée Nadal and Rose-Marie Desruisseaux, the Le Centre's other founding female artists, as belonging to Haiti's middle class. Though their higher status afforded them the opportunity to study art, middle class Haitian society of the time did not encourage women to pursue the arts, often painting them as deviants.[9] Turnier recalled that, while many women came by for a class or two, Le Centre d'Art had only about four or five regular women artists during these early years. She described the disdainful attitude the Haitian bourgeoisie initially held toward Le Centre's artists, viewing them "like hippies" or "punks"

Her paintings were featured in the Le Centre d'Art's monthly Studio No. 3 magazine. She and a constellation of artists affiliated with the institution, including Albert Mangones, Gerald Bloncourt, Maurice Borno, Rigaud Benoit, Hector Hyppolite, Daniel Lafontant, and others formed the nexus of the Haitian Art Movement. The period between 1946 and 1950, encompassing the early years of Turnier's artistic work, is also called "The Haitian Renaissance."

In 1946, with the support of UNESCO, Turnier's works were exhibited at the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris.

From December 8, 1949 until June 1950, her "Self-Portrait" was exhibited within the fine arts pavilion at the International Bi-Centennial Celebration of Port-au-Prince. In 1950, Turnier and Lucien Price helped to found an art gallery, The Foyer.

During the early 1950s, the French and Haitian governments awarded Turnier scholarships to study abroad in the United States and Europe and she had several exhibits in Europe. She studied in both New York City and Paris as she struggled to develop a personal style that encompassed her Haitian heritage without capitulating to the tastes of the market and its preconceived notions about what "Haitian" art was or should look like.[14] In New York City, Turnier studied at the Art Students League where she became steeped in modernist theory that "disdained spatial illusionism, insisting on maintaining the integrity of the picture plane as a flat surface"

Personal life: She married Eugenio Carpi de Resmini, an Italian painter, in 1954. The couple had two children. She remarried in 1965 to the French painter Christian Lemesle.

After her return to Haiti in the 1970s, Turnier enjoyed increasing popularity at home and abroad. Turnier died in 1994 in Paris, France.
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