WHAT WE DO
WHO WE ARE
.........In 1947, Mr. and Mrs Roger Monnin both from Jura, Switzerland settle down in Haiti. The country is at a socio-cultural boiling point. President Dumarsais Estime is fervently preparing the “Exposition Universelle du Bicentenaire de la Fondation de la ville de Port-au-Prince” (Universal Exhibit of the Bicentennial of Port-au-Prince). Dewit Peters who is the Cultural Attache at the American Embassy creates the Centre d’Art. Thanks to Peters unique skills of assembling many different artists under one roof the naïve Haitian painting style reveals itself to the world in 1944.
.........The Monnins who were actively involved in art promotion in Switzerland spontaneously jump into all the fast growing artistic events in Port-au-Prince that have never before seem such effervescence. Freda Monnin takes drawing and painting lessons from Max Pinchinat and Roger Monnin becomes an actor of the “Societe Nationale d’Art Dramatique” playing in several theater pieces at the Rex Theater. Both of them develop a friendship with Peters and buy paintings from artists who become the great masters of the naïve Haitian painting style. With a collection of 150 paintings Roger and Freda Monnin open Galerie Monnin in 1959 at 382 Boulevard Jean Jacques Dessalines in Port-au-Prince.
..........1968 marks the first turning point in the Galerie Monnins’ history when Michel and Lena, the second generation of Monnins join their parents. Michel feels that the sacred or vodou art of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s are running short of breath ant that the young artists seeking to branch out are looking for an orchestra leader to animate the gallery’s workshop. It is in the "atelier Galerie Monnin" that many artists take their first steps.
.......The second turning point of the gallery, around 1987, takes place a couple of years after the construction and opening of the Galerie Monnin at 19 Rue Lamarre in Pétionville. Around the same time, Toni Mosesman, a Texan beauty, joins the team in a gallery which was at its highest apogee in a glorious Haiti, the pearl of the Antilles. This unequal and always smiling saleswoman happily assists Roger Monnin whom she replaces in 1994 at the time of his death.
..........In 2001 comes the third turning point when Pascale and Gaël Monnin, “soeurs marassa” twins of the third generation realize that a face lift to rejuvenate the gallery is necessary to assure the gallery’s continuation in the difficult context of an Haïti fighting its eternal devils. Together they dream of a new style of Haitian painting more in sync with current international spheres of influence and open the gallery's doors to the contemporay artists of the moment.