Riguad Benoit

Haiti 1911-1986
Calice (Chalice) 69.0032

Born in Port-au-Prince, Benoit was one of the first to join Le Centre d'Art after it opened in 1944. A taxi driver, Benoit wandered into the gallery one day to look around. He later came back with a crude pottery jug that he showed DeWitt Peters, the Director, telling Peters that a friend had painted it and asking if the Centre would purchase it. Peters did and gave Benoit a piece of cardboard to take to his friend so that he could paint a picture upon it. This arrangement, cardboard for finished paintings, continued until Peters insisted upon meeting the artist. Benoit departed to retrieve the artist only to return and shyly admit to Peters that it was he who had painted the pottery and all of the pictures. Benoit's delicate style, his insistence on detail, and his insights into Haitian daily life made him one of Haiti's most popular and beloved artists. Benoit's striking painting, Calice, is all about the vodou poto mitan (the sacred center pole in a vodou temple). Benoit's painting depicts fecundity as an earth power, a force that pushes up from down under. The tuberous body of an ancestor, transformed by time below the earth, sinks roots deep into the soil and, at the same time, pushes up new growth. From the belly springs a thick umbilical cord through which flows the life-sustaining wisdom and power of the ancestors. The chalice (used in the sacrament of The Lord's Supper) becomes a large flower, bursting with new life, receiving its energy and sustenance from the earth--a powerful combination of both Roman Catholic and Haitian imagery.




Orientation Gallery
Img 5005 1
Img 4901 2

225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



Museum | 563.326.7804

Cafe | 563.345.6647



Monday | Closed

Tuesday - Wednesday | 10am - 5pm

Thursday | 10am - 8pm

Friday - Saturday | 10am - 5pm

Sunday | 12pm - 5pm

*Closing procedures will begin 15 minutes before closing time



Monday - Sunday Closed

*The Figge Cafe is closed until further notice

*See calendar for holiday exceptions