Beginning with gifts from Quad-Cities physician and arts patron Walter Neiswanger, the Davenport Museum of Art was among the first museums in the United States to collect works by artists from Haiti, in particular the “first generation” of artists who studied and worked at the Centre d’Art. The museum’s renowned collection has continued to grow with gifts from collectors from across the country, and now includes more than 200 works.
The vibrancy of Haitian art reflects the island’s unique culture and religions, a mix of Native American, West African and Christian religious traditions, and the country’s turbulent history as a French colony and independent nation founded by former slaves. The Art of Shared Experiences presents works of Haitian art recently gifted to the Figge. Included is a group of six paintings from the estate of James Huffman, a U.S. diplomat who was stationed in the Dominican Republic and was actively collecting Haitian art the same time Dr. Walter Neiswanger began collecting there.