Hyppolite's career as a painter was preceded by his role as both a voodoo priest and a house painter. Hyppolite also worked as a cobbler, an innkeeper and a decorator.
Once discovered by DeWitt Peters who initially viewed the decoration of Hyppolite's bar "La Renaissance" in Montrouis, Hyppolite produced 256 paintings over the course of three years (between 1945 and his death in 1948). This talented man merged historical references with imaginary characters.
Often he painted what he dreamed, in animal and in human form. Haitian spirits, legends and mystic reincarnations shaped the artist's imagery as well. "Hyppolite declared that he painted in a possessed state during which nothing else existed for him. He had the impression that it was not he himself who painted, but that he was the instrument of John the Baptist.
Andre Breton, Wilfredo Lam and later Pierre Mabille were among his admirers. Breton, who visited Haiti in 1946, not only acquired Hyppolite's work, but organized an exhibit of his paintings that toured Prague, Paris, Basel and Berlin." The above was excerpted from Haitian Arts by Marie-Jose Nadal-Gardere and Gerald Bloncourt (1986) and from Haitian Art The Legend and Legacy of the Naive Tradition by L.G. Hoffman (1985).
2008-2009 was declared by the Haitian government as the year of Hector Hyppolite. In recognition of this dedication, a major retrospective exhibition of the work of Hyppolite opened at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC in May 2009. Until early July 2009 50 to 100 works will be on view with the hope that additional museum venues will allow the exhibit to tour other venues. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.