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  1. Exploring Haitian Daily Life through Art- It’s About Getting a Fresh New Perspective!

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    Haitian art is characterized by its vibrant colors. The evocative symbolism, and raw emotional expression, stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of the Haitian people. Rooted in a fusion of African, European, and indigenous influences the art captures the spirit and struggles of a nation with a tumultuous history.

     Often featuring everyday scenes, voodoo symbolism, and lush landscapes, Haitian art offers a unique window into the cultural identity and spirituality of the country. The art reflects the rich heritage and serves as a powerful form of storytelling, echoing the strength and vitality of the Haitian people.

    Every brushstroke tells a story of daily life, capturing the essence of a resilient culture deeply rooted in history, nature, and community. As such, Galerie Bonheur is delighted to guide you on a visual journey through the rich and diverse narratives portrayed by Haitian artists. The objective is to showcase the beauty found in the simplicity of everyday existence.

    So, let’s explore some of the finer aspects of daily life portrayed in Haitian art.

    Farming: Cultivating Roots in the Soil

    The art beautifully illustrates the connection between the people and the land. Scenes of farming, with farmers toiling in the fields, depict the agricultural heartbeat of the nation. These artworks encapsulate the hard work, dedication, and sustenance drawn from the bountiful Haitian soil.

    Fishing and Sailing: Navigating Life’s Waters

    Haitian coastal life takes center stage with depictions of fishing and sailing. The art resonates with the rhythmic dance of fishermen casting their nets and sailors navigating the azure waters. These pieces not only capture the economic importance of the sea but also symbolize the resilience required to navigate life’s challenges.

    Preparing Food: A Culinary Symphony

    Haitian cuisine happens to be an integral part of its identity, and the art reflects the culinary rituals ingrained in daily life. Images of market scenes, kitchens, and families gathered around tables tell a story of shared meals, highlighting the significance of food as a cultural bond.

    Animals: Guardians of Nature’s Harmony

    Haitian art often features animals as integral elements of the narrative. From the humble goat to the majestic rooster, animals symbolize resilience, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of all living things. These depictions serve as a reminder of the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.

    Living in Nature: A Harmonious Coexistence

    Haitian artists celebrate the intrinsic connection between people and nature. The artworks showcase villages nestled amid lush landscapes, emphasizing the coexistence between communities and their natural surroundings. This harmony echoes the resilience of a people deeply rooted in their ancestral lands.

    Celebrating Weddings and Feast Days: Joyous Commemorations

    Artistic representations of celebrations like weddings and feast days exude joy and communal spirit. These pieces encapsulate the vibrancy of Haitian culture, with lively colors, music, and dance portraying the heartwarming celebrations that bring families and communities together.

    Wrapping Up

    Haitian art often celebrates the profound connection between people and nature. Artists like Télèmaque Obin skillfully depict scenes of farming, where toil and tradition converge on the canvas.  Paintings by Levoy Exil and Micius Stephane depict lively scenes of communal cooking, vibrant markets, and jubilant celebrations. These artists masterfully capture the essence of Haitian cuisine, portraying the joy that comes with preparing and sharing food within the community. The simplicity and beauty of rural life find their voice in the works of Sénèque Obin and Paul Jean.

    As you peruse the collection at Galerie Bonheur, let each stroke of the artist’s brush carry you into the heart of Haitian daily life. These artworks are not just images; they are windows into a culture that finds beauty, strength, and inspiration in the tapestry of everyday existence. Join us in celebrating the stories told through Haitian art, where each piece is a testament to the resilience, richness, and profound beauty found in the rhythms of Haitian life.

  2. In Memoriam: Mary Frances Whitfield (1947-2023)

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    Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and a cherished artist of our community, Mary Frances Whitfield passed away on November 5, 2023. Galerie Bonheur mourns her passing and celebrates her profound legacy.

    A portrait of Mary Frances Whitfield

    Today, we share reflections from Laurie Ahner, our Director/Owner, on Mary’s impactful journey and the enduring legacy she leaves behind in the art world. Join us in remembering and honoring Mary’s extraordinary life and contributions.

    It is with deep sadness that I report the death of our beloved artist Mary Frances Whitfield (1947-2023) on November 5, 2023, from cancer.

    I met Mary many years ago while she was participating in an exhibit entitled ‘Love’ at the American Visionary Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. I stopped in my tracks as I was walking by her painting of a lynched man, with his wife holding him beneath the tree and their baby close by, behind the tree. I started to cry and was visibly moved by this extraordinary and passionate work of art. Mary was standing there next to her painting, and she asked me, ‘Do you like my work?’ I was entranced. I asked her about her history, and we bonded immediately.

    I said that I did not know of her paintings but that I would love to see more, and that I could possibly represent her in my gallery. I gave her my business card and hoped that it might lead to further knowledge of this talented and unique artist.

    In 1998, I received a call from Mary’s agent, who asked if we would represent her work at my gallery in St. Louis, Galerie Bonheur. We began showcasing her work, and in 1999, brought it to the notable Outsider Art Fair in New York City, a show I had been a part of since its start in 1993. Our presentation at the fair was met with immediate reactions to her powerful and stirring work. In the time that followed, many of Mary’s paintings were placed into important private collections.

    We also exhibited Whitfield’s work in Chicago, Texas, Michigan, the Black History Museum in St. Louis, and many other venues. Mary became one of our stars, not surprising as her message is timeless, telling of the constant struggles of African Americans. The paintings portray riveting visual images depicting both the tragic stories of slavery and lynchings, as well as those of peaceful plantation life and family ties in the South.

    Mary’s art always embodied a profound human tenderness and love, often heartbreakingly moving. Her paintings, lovely, sensitive, and stunning, lyrically depict passion, despair, injustice, and perseverance. They are haunting yet can be spiritual and gentle, a beautiful interplay of beauty and sorrow.

    This incredible talent is her true gift to the world. We will miss her presence, but her creative legacy will endure as a genuine testament to her heritage.

    In loving memory,

    Laurie G. Ahner

    For further inquiries: or 314-409-6057 (call/text). Visit to explore Mary’s full collection.

    Mama Picking Up Baby Efrin”, 2001. Watercolor on Arches paper, 4 x 5-1/4 inches. This poignant work is a testament to Mary’s tender and powerful storytelling through art. It showcases her unique ability to convey deep emotions and narratives in her paintings.
    “Going Home,” Circa the late 1990s. Watercolor and acrylic on canvas board, 16 x 20 inches.
    “Untitled” (Incarcerated Children). Watercolor and acrylic on canvas board, 16 x 20 inches.

    Click here to see more art by Mary Whitfield

  3. Whimsical Botanical by The Recluse

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    The Recluse, Indiana. Snow Leopards, 2021. Acrylic on paperboard, 14 x 11 inches. Framed. Originally $595; SPRING SALE $395.

    Dear clients and friends,

    I hope you are enjoying warmer weather and sweet scent of spring blooms. It is hard to believe it’s already the end of April!

    I wanted to re-introduce one of my talented artists, The Recluse. He is based in Indiana and completely self-taught. You might be already familiar with his signature whimsical, endearing paintings. I’m often impressed not only by his talents but also by his childlike curiosity, eccentric visual style, and passion. His recent botanical series truly encompasses his character.

    As we approach the eventful month of May, I would like to present special offers on most of the charming pieces by The Recluse. These pieces would make perfect gifts for upcoming Mother’s Day and graduations! We currently offer a free bonus of a catalog and a hand-painted notecard with purchase.

    Furthermore, The Recluse also takes commission work. His original portraits make special moments last forever. Please note a photo is required. Portraits of animals and pets are also welcome. I have personally commissioned him to do numerous paintings for myself, friends, and family – and they always surpass my expectations!

    I hope you take advantage of our offers this season! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

    All the best,

    314-409-6057 (call/text)

    Bonus Gift

    A purchase of artwork by The Recluse will come with a free catalog and note card!

    The Artist

    The Recluse (b. 1969) is an American Outsider artist based in Indiana. He was raised in a working class family, and lost his parents at an early age. Later in life The Recluse suffered a blood clot, became physically disabled, and socially withdrawn as a result.

    Though faced with unexpected challenges and physical limitations, he discovered strength in spirituality and art-making. He finds inspiration in everyday life, painting from memory and his imagination. His work is permeated with nostalgia and a sense of tranquility, while maintaining a streak of roughness.

    The Recluse’s work is a reflection of his state of mind, seeking to reconcile the imperfection of reality with gratitude for life. He currently resides in Indiana, and enjoys his solitude.

    Related Works

    Father’s Day is also coming up!

    Tampa Bay, 2021. Acrylic on paperboard, 14 x 11 inches.
    Originally $595, SPRING SALE $395.

    See more art by The Recluse here.

  4. Celebrate Amos Ferguson’s Birthday! Special Offers

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    by Laurie Ahner

    Laurie Ahner stands before Amos Ferguson’s paintings from the collection of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, February 2023.

    Dear clients and collectors,

    This week, we are celebrating the birth of Amos Ferguson, the national treasure of the Bahamas. Amos was born on February 28, 1920, in Exuma, and 2023 will mark his 103rd birthday.

    I was lucky to travel to Nassau, The Bahamas, for his birthday this year. I visited Amos’ old home/studio, saw my old/new friends, and enjoyed his vibrant, timeless work at local museums and galleries. Although I sometimes felt melancholic, I was reminded of the incredible privilege of knowing such a remarkable artist with a beautiful soul for the last three decades through his death in 2009. He was my friend and inspiration – and he still is. His captivating works continue to give my clients and me much joy and optimism. I am grateful for your love and support for Amos.

    Here, we are showcasing select works with special prices. Please reach us with any questions. We are enthused to find new homes for these works.

    It’s hard to believe it’s already the last day of February. Wherever you are, I hope you are staying warm – I wish for your health and well-being.

    All the best,
    Laurie Ahner, owner/director
    314.409.6057 (call/text) or

    AMOS FERGUSON: The Master of Color

    Birthday Special Offers

    Please inquire: 314.409.6057 (call/text) or

    Amos Ferguson (1920-2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting in his 40s. Amos stated that God told him to paint His world’s beauty, celebrate the Bible and nature, and show off his native Bahamas. Amos followed God’s commands and painted prolifically for many years.

    One day, Amos received a vision from God in a dream. He claimed to,“Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.” Amos did not paint what he saw, but what he dreamed.

    His subjects include Biblical scenes, nature motifs, and scenes of everyday Bahamian life, including the festival Junkanoo. His works are bold and bright, comprised of colorful shapes and patterns, making them charming, fun, and uplifting. Amos’s use of color and imagery speaks of his lush tropical surroundings in the Bahamas. He used lush enamel house paint on cardboard, creating a beautiful shiny, and smooth paint skin in his artwork.

    Later in his life, Amos garnered much admiration and became a well-known artist in The Bahamas and other countries.

    His work was discovered by the New York art world in 1983 and has since toured the United States and several other countries. Today, he is considered a national treasure of The Bahamas, and his works are in many museums and private collections around the world. (Some images are from the Ford Times, December 1983. Photographs by Arnold, S. Hirsch.)

    See more art by Amos Ferguson

    See more art by Amos Ferguson here.

  5. Anonymous & Misc. Mexican Art

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    Galerie Bonheur presents Anonymous & Misc. Mexican Art.

  6. Amos Ferguson

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    Amos Ferguson (1920-2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting in his 40s. One day, Amos received a vision from God in a dream. He claimed to, “Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.” Amos stated that God told him to paint the beauty of His world, to celebrate the Bible and nature, and to show off his native Bahamas. Amos followed God’s commands and painted prolifically for many years.

    Amos did not paint what he saw, but what he dreamed. His subjects included Biblical scenes, nature motifs, and scenes of everyday Bahamian life, including the festival Junkanoo. His works are bold and bright, comprised of colorful shapes and patterns, making them charming, fun, and uplifting. Amos’s use of color and imagery speaks of his lush tropical surroundings in the Bahamas. He used lush enamel house paint on cardboard, creating a beautiful shiny, and smooth paint skin in his artwork.

    Later in his life, Amos garnered much admiration and became a well-known artist in The Bahamas and others. His work was discovered by the New York art world in 1983 and has since toured the United States and several other countries. Today, he is considered a national treasure of The Bahamas, and his works are in many museums and private collections around the world.

    For any inquiries including price and availability of artwork by Amos Ferguson, please contact us at or 314.409.6057.

    Amos Ferguson and Laurie Ahner in 2008.

    Amos Ferguson and Laurie Ahner in 2008.

    Read New York Times article Amos Ferguson, 89, Bahamian Artist, Is Dead

    From Amos Ferguson: Master of Color (2010)

    “My Friend Amos Ferguson” by Laurie Ahner

    I first became acquainted with the art of Amos Ferguson in the early 1980s when my friend and colleague Ute Stebich introduced me to his delightful paintings. Being fairly new to the art business at the time, I trusted Ute’s professional eye and experience. When she called to tell me that she had recently discovered a true genius, her enthusiasm convinced me to drive to her house one evening and take a look. What I found was an amazing and wonderful treasure trove, which Ute generously shared with me.

    I was dazzled and thrilled at by the numerous paintings – each one unique and different from the other. Amos’s bold and direct approach to each work of art made it difficult for me to choose among them. However, somehow I narrowed it down and eagerly bought eight paintings. The vibrant colors and friendly, straightforward subject matter were what compelled and persuaded me. At that time in my career, I was in love with Haitian Art and had tailored my gallery to that marvelous and fascinating genre. I found Amos’s works of art to be similar to the Haitian in that they were colorful, joyful, fun and undeniably free spirited. My life and the direction of my collection broadened that evening: I was completely entranced by the works of Amos Ferguson.

    The opportunity to meet Amos did not present itself until a few years later in 1985, when I ventured forth to the Bahamas to encounter in person this creative and talented man. His simple home and studio were proof enough of the sincerity and genuineness of this spiritual and deeply inspired artist. It was a pleasure to connect personally with Amos and his wife, Bea, who both had welcoming, alluring and charming personalities. Lots of laughter and fun came from that initial meeting, and our friendship was born. I was able to buy several more paintings on that visit, and my business and personal relationship with Amos Ferguson, Master of Color, was off and running.

    Amos & Bea Ferguson and Laurie Ahner at their home in Bahamas, circa 1980's.

    Amos & Bea Ferguson and Laurie Ahner at their home in Bahamas, circa 1980’s.

    Over the next twenty five years, I passionately and steadily collected, exhibited and sold the works of Amos Ferguson in Greenwich and New Canaan, Connecticut; New York City; St Louis; Naples, Florida; Chicago; Atlanta; Vail; and numerous other venues. I became so attached to the work that I had a hard time parting with the paintings. So, I promised myself that when one piece sold, I would buy another soon afterward.

    I tried to keep at least twenty five Amos Ferguson paintings in my collection at all times, feeling a pinch if the total dipped below twenty. I can truthfully say that I never saw a work by Amos Ferguson that I did not like or love. His art has a way of getting into and capturing my heart and staying there. I cannot imagine working in my gallery without numerous Amos Ferguson paintings around.

    I took my children to meet Amos and gave each of them a painting for their own collections. It was important to me that they also get to know this man who could paint joy! I continued to introduce the work to family, friends and clients. I did many exhibits in both public and private settings, always boasting that in addition to being a great artist, Amos was a wonderful and unique human being. On all of my following trips to visit Amos, I noticed that even though his fame had increased, his life-style had remained the same. There was no fancy car, clothing or jewelry to flaunt how successful he had become. He was a humble soul, sharp as a tack, with a brilliant and joyful face, often sporting a baseball cap.

    The significant point that Amos made each time I visited was how much he attributed his talents to God. He did not mince words. He always told me that God spoke through him and that he received all of his gifts and abilities from God.

    Amos_NoahAndThe Ark

    There were those early on who rolled their eyes when I spoke of how Amos was inspired to paint by God in dreams. Some others were shocked at the cost of his work, wondering why and how an unpretentious native son of the Bahamas could be charging a fairly hefty price tag. During the early years of my gallery, Amos Ferguson was not yet an established or recognized name in the world of Folk Art in the United States. However, it did not bother me if years went by before I sold an Amos Ferguson painting. They were considered treasures in my collection and in my home.

    In 2008, having not seen Amos in over ten years, I flew to the Bahamas again hoping to catch him in good health. I was very fortunate to do just that. On that trip I had the added bonus of meeting his niece, Lorraine, who took care of him in his later years after Bea died. Lorraine is as lovely and gracious a human being as there is.

    In the intervening months, I made a total of four trips to see Amos in his humble abode on Amos Ferguson Street, always meeting him on his front porch in a chair, faithfully painting. My last trip to visit Amos and Lorraine was October 14-15, 2009. I realized that this might be the final time I would enjoy the company of this humble genius with the gentle smile. On October 19, 2009, just four days later, my friend Amos Ferguson passed away. My phone did not stop ringing that day, and has been ringing ever since, with people wanting to know more about Amos Ferguson and his wonderful paintings. For this reason we are publishing this catalog.

    Thank God I knew Amos Ferguson and his artwork, for it has brought me much joy and inspiration during the last two and a half decades of selling art. I have had the privilege during those years of introducing his work and thus his spirit to many people who treasure that greatness! My life has been enriched because I knew this simple man with sparkly, piercing green eyes that looked right through to my heart and soul. Amos’s work reminds me that God made a beautiful world filled with bright colors, flowers, music, trees, birds, fish and magical creatures. I am often asked, “Who is your favorite artist in the gallery?” My answer is always the same: my friend Amos Ferguson, Master of Color.

    Buy a copy of Amos Ferguson catalog Amos Ferguson: Master of Color

  7. Support Gabriel Bien-Aimé: Brilliant Talent of Metalwork from Haiti

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    by Laurie Ahner

    Dear friends and clients,

    I am appealing to you on behalf of our wonderful and talented artist from Haiti, Gabriel Bien-Aimé.

    I’ll be frank: he needs money to travel to Haiti to create artwork for the Santa Fe Folk Art Market in July 2023. This longstanding art fair showcases incredible folk artists from around the world, bringing thousands of visitors each year. Gabriel was one of the finest artists selected to exhibit this year. However, the current dire sociopolitical circumstances in Haiti prevented him from participating. Gabriel has been stuck in Boston, working manual labor at a restaurant to make ends meet. He hasn’t been able to make his art there; he needs to be at his studio in Haiti with his metal supplies and workers to help.

    Haiti, Gabriel’s home country that he loves deeply, is currently in a dangerous state. Gang violence and poverty are rising at an alarming level. Although going into such a difficult situation would be risky for Gabriel, he wants to go nevertheless. He has his family there, and that’s where he creates his masterpieces. His family depends on his income from making and selling his art. Because Gabriel has not been able to go to Haiti for a year due to the dangers, he missed out on participating in the Market this year. Last year in 2021, Gabriel sold 39 works of art! That money has already been spent as he needed every dime.

    Please support Gabriel by purchasing his artwork at our full price or making a fair offer! I promise that all the funds will go to Gabriel to help his trip to Haiti. 

    Thank you for your continued generosity and purchases from Galerie Bonheur over the years!

    Laurie Ahner
    314-409-6057 (call/text)

    See art by Gabriel Bien-Aime here

    Young Gabriel making art from discarded metal in Haiti.
  8. Curt Whiticar

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    Curt Whiticar (1911 – 2017) was a fisherman and boat builder by trade. His family moved to Stuart, Florida when he was 6 years old. A self-taught painter, at a young age he was paid to paint lettering on boats and local signage, which included some scenery. Around 1950 a house fire destroyed most of his 25-30 personal paintings, and it was not until his retirement in 1986 that he dedicated his time to painting. Over the next 31 years, Whiticar produced nearly 2,000 works, with oil his favorite medium. Vibrant and ethereal Florida landscapes, seascapes, and local historical scenes were common themes. Whiticar also cut and stretched his own canvas, and built his frames from scratch.

  9. Cincinho

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    Cincinho was born Inocêncio Alves dos Santos in 1907. He was raised in Muritiba, a state of Bahia, Brazil. Having a barber as a father and cigar maker as a mother, Cincinho learned craftsmanship through his parents. He worked as a decorative wall painter in Cachoeira for many years throughout his adult life. In 1973 at the age of 66, he began to paint. He primarily used wax crayons on paper, delicately depicting the rural scenes and landscapes he remembered from wandering through the Recôncavo in his youth. His skilled use of gradations of pastel colors adds subtle luminosity and poetic nuances. Cincinho painted in the dining room of his home, where he always warmly welcomed family and friends. Since 1977, his work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the globe, including Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro, Museum of Primitive Art in Assisi in São Paulo, Musée D’Art Naif de L’lle de France in Paris among others.