Its white sand, turquoise sea, blue sky, and golden sun make the island of St. Martin a paradise. Its landscapes are so idyllic that they seem to have been drawn by a painter at the peak of his art. This enchanting place is the perfect place to inspire many artists.
1- Art in its history on Saint Martin
In the year 3,200 B.C., the Saladoïd and Arawak Indians, who had come from South America, set foot on land on Saint Martin. They left behind beautiful pieces carved from shell and stone. The Museum of Saint Martin honors magnificent ceramics, ornaments, figurines, and other tools found on site.
Arawak art is the precursor of the artistic dimension that is attached to the island of Saint Martin, rightly nicknamed the island of painters. The pictorial art is indeed omnipresent on the picture rails of the many art galleries, but also on the urban walls. The many colorful frescoes that decorate the streets of the Orléans district of Marigot or the Sandy Ground district are a flagrant testimony to the artistic fiber that animates the Saint-Martinois people. Street-Art is a current variation of artistic expression and it is clear that Saint-Martin is a flagship, with many paintings signed by Baki or Mash. More than a work of art in the strict sense, these drawings are intended to convey a message of hope and optimism for the future. This is why they were multiplied after the devastating passage of hurricane Irma in 2017, in order to brighten up the daily life of the inhabitants' hard hit by the disaster. Magnificent murals, the joint work of a dozen local artists, now make up the superb Mur des Arts along the road to Nettle Bay, which can be contemplated at leisure in Marigot.
2- Current artists on the island
The famous island of painters is rightly named because it has left its mark on so many passing artists who, having fallen under the spell of the pearl of the Caribbean, decided to settle there. It must be said that in front of the splendor of nature here, the mix of colors, the so particular light, and the paradisiacal quietness, talents naturally blossom. Saint-Martin is indeed rich in local artists with the most diverse know-how. Ceramists, sculptors, and painters flourish in this naturally inspiring microclimate. There are too many to name them all. Nevertheless, let's mention the famous Sir Roland Richardson, Saint Martinois by birth or Francis Eck, internationally known, as well as Mounette Rado, Mosera, Dago whose works often embellish art collections around the world. Without forgetting the stripped-down style of Antoine Chapon, and also the talented Sébastien Rouxel, alias Bastien.
a. Sir Roland Richardson
Born in St. Martin, Sir Richardson is considered the master impressionist of the Caribbean. He honors the local landscapes, but he is also a high-flying portraitist. He also easily handles watercolor or charcoal, oil paint, or pastel. His works have a great international scope, as he has been exhibited all over the world.
Ennobled in 2007 by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, his pictorial art has enriched the greatest collections from Jackie Kennedy Onassis to the rich Getty family.
b. Antoine Chapon
Chapon's work is fascinating. His watercolors and oils, with their ethereal charm, exude an incredible tranquillity.
Morning Light On Pinel Island – Antoine Chapon
Its minimalist style is recognizable among a thousand. Never satisfied, Antoine Chapon is on a perpetual stylistic quest. We can't wait to be surprised by his next canvas with unique colors.
c. Francis Eck
With three decades of painting to his credit, Francis Eck continues to move lovers of beautiful works. Abandoning his first monochrome flat tints, with their powerful primary colors, he now turns to a more contemplative and stripped-down pictorial art.
What a pleasure to visit the artist and to be able to exchange with him in his studio where he welcomes the amateurs of his work, in all simplicity.
Case de Pêcheur – Francis Eick
d. Sebastien Rouxel
The prolific and French-born artist named Sébastien Rouxel, alias Bastien, paints the streets of the island as well as superb landscapes or endearing portraits.
e. Patty Meotti
An illustrator by profession, Patty Meotti almost lost the use of her right arm in a serious accident. Now painting with both hands, she specializes in abstract hat-based representations, offering sublime works of Italian inspiration, her country of birth.
f. Mah Nyamu
Reunionese artist Mah Nyamu has taken up residence in Saint-Martin. A great traveler before the Lord, her journeys are transcribed in her works based on the films she made herself. Playing with matter and volumes, she uses various techniques for a rendering that is always colorful.
3- Art galleries
Art galleries are legion on the island, showcasing the works of local artists. Lovers of fine art productions are sure to linger in front of the frames hanging from their picture rails or enthroned on easels. If you are short of time, make at least one stop at the following addresses.
a. Galerie Richardson, located at 6 rue de la République in Marigot. Set in a beautiful 19th century Creole house with a beautiful tropical garden, this is another work of art by the prolific Sir Richardson.
Some of his works can be admired by amateurs every Thursday. It is even possible to meet the Master who gives free advice at 10:30.
b. Galerie Minguet, located impasse Flanders Carmen in Rambaud. At the top of a hill, this art gallery celebrates the work of the great colorist Alexandre Minguet and other Caribbean artists. One can contemplate there superb paintings influenced by the gentle way of life of Saint-Martin.
c. At the Tropismes Gallery, located at 109 boulevard de Grand-Case, in Grand-Case. Both a boutique and an art gallery, it gives amateurs the opportunity to acquire original works at very interesting prices.
Founded by the painter Paul Elliott Thuleau, the gallery prides itself on showcasing two new contemporary Caribbean artists from all disciplines each year.
And because painting is not the only artistic manifestation on the island of St. Martin, why not discover Marie Moine's sublime hand-glazed ceramics in her studio on Flibusterie Street in Oyster Pond? And, to return to the island's roots, the Arawak Pottery in the Orleans district of Marigot is sure to delight lovers of earth and nature who can leave with reproductions of the original pottery.