Panofsky Lecture 2017 // Gauvin Alexander Bailey: The Palace of Sans-Souci in Milot, Haiti (1811-13): the Untold Story of the Potsdam of the Rainforest



von 19:00 bis 21:00




Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Lesesaal Bibliothek, 1.OG, Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10, 80333 München

Termin übernehmen


One of the most dramatic and least-studied neoclassical buildings in the Western Hemisphere, King Henry I Christophe’s opulent French-style palace in Haiti towers over the agricultural town of Milot. Begun less than a decade after Haitian independence (1804) by America’s first black king this massive structure was built to demonstrate Haiti’s capacity to stand up to a world in which most global powers were still monarchies or empires. Although a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction in the 1940s-50s during the heyday of Haitian tourism, this extraordinary building has never been the subject of concentrated scholarly study and is therefore the source of much mythmaking and speculation. It has been attributed to imprisoned French workers, Prussian volunteer soldiers, renegade Napoleonic generals, and re-enslaved Africans—among others. Using unpublished archival sources and a photographic survey undertaken in 2017 this paper will reconstruct the circumstances, influences, and builders of this extraordinary monument to demonstrate its position at the nexus of a global network of cultures at the dawn of Caribbean and Latin American independence, from France, Prussia, Spain, Great Britain and the Kingdom of Dahomey and including figures as varied as Duke Leopold of Lorrain, Toussaint Louverture, Napoleon Bonaparte, George III and Frederick the Great.




Prof. Gauvin Alexander Bailey

Gauvin Alexander Bailey is Professor and Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen’s University. He has held fellowships with the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, and in 2014 was elected correspondent étranger of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres at the Institut de France. He has published seven books, co-authored or edited seven more, and written over 70 articles.