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Sad news – Haitian Art has lost a great friend

posted Dec 20, 2018, 1:42 PM by Haitian ArtSociety   [ updated Dec 21, 2018, 9:29 AM ]

January 20, 1927 – December 16, 2018

Fritz Racine
Mr. Fritz Racine was born January 20, 1927 and reared in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti. He was married to Gladys Coby Racine, a union of 62 years which produced sons Reginald and Fritz, Jr. and daughters Magdalah and Caroline. In addition to being father-in-law to Daniel Silva, he is grandfather to three girls, Shaina, Vasilia, and Naisha and great grandfather to one girl Dimitra, and two boys, Ioulianos and Theodosis.

He completed secondary studies in Port-au-Prince in 1947 and promptly traveled to upstate New York on a scholarship to attend Alfred University. He graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Ceramics Engineering. Upon return to Haiti he continued studies at the University of Haiti Law School earning a degree in 1957.

Mr. Racine began his professional career in service to his hometown as Mayor of Croix des Bouquets. He played a significant role helping to save lives and managing humanitarian assistance from the U.S. in response to hurricane Hazel. During that same period he taught ceramics to young Haitian men and women and spouses of diplomats serving in Haiti. In fact, several of his Haitian students became acclaimed artists, chief among them Jean-Claude “Tiga” Garoute. He shifted from art instruction to public service in Haiti employed by the United States Embassy, first as Administrative Assistant, Economic, and finally Legal Adviser. In November 1967, he transferred to the State Department in Washington, DC where he began a 34-year career with the U.S. Information Agency. He retired from his U.S. Diplomatic career in 1991 as the Chief of the French language section of the Africa branch.

During his illustrious career of public service, Mr. Racine received several honors and awards: Superior performance award and International Ambassador of HEMISFAIR, 1968; Letter of congratulations in recognition of excellence in performance of duties, 1975; Certificate of appreciation in recognition of outstanding performance from U.S. Information Agency, 1985; Certificate of meritorious appreciation from the Pentagon Joint Staff in Washington, DC, 1994; and Recognition of outstanding 34 years of service to the United States Government, 1995.

Mr. Racine began collecting Haitian art in the 1950’s as the Art Center (Centre d’Art) in Haiti was opening. In addition to his professional career, together with his wife Gladys Coby Racine, Mr. Racine is credited with increasing the popularity of Haitian art in the United States, Haiti and abroad. They owned a Haitian Art Gallery in Adams Morgan from 1970-1998 where they exposed American and patrons from around the world to the various art schools emanating from Haiti. They continue to operate the gallery on the web from their home where they continue to exhibit for sale or pure appreciation a private collection of some of the rarest artworks produced by some of Haiti’s first generation artists.

In 2001 Mr. Racine was appointed president of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Haitian Art Society—a national organization of collectors, researchers, and dealers whose mission is to renew interest in and appreciation of Haitian art. For the past 40 years, Fritz and Gladys have organized numerous celebrations of Haitian art, history, craft and culture in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, the Northeast, Midwest and Southern States. As a recognized Haitian art aficionado with a caring ethic and jovial character, he regularly convened many distinguished Haitian and foreign dignitaries, former heads of state, Ambassadors, Congresspersons, Cabinet ministers, and captains of industry.

He is survived by his doting wife Gladys, sons, daughters, a son-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers Edouard Jr. and Raymond, a sister Simone and numerous nieces and nephews.

In recognition of Mr. Racine’s passion for Haiti and Haitian art, in lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial contributions in the form of membership to the Haitian Art Society.