Elizabeth Martineau: Golden Reflections of Layered Lives

 Visit Elizabeth Martineau's upcoming exhibit Golden Reflections of Layered Lives! Launching this Friday. Schedule your visit here.


Born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti. Lives and works in Washington DC, USA. 

I am made of that mixture of earth, light and history that is Haiti. My roots are deep, and the colors of my country are engraved forever in my memory.

Elizabeth Martineau’s paintings are an explosion of luminous colors, sparkling with flecks of gold. They reflect not only the vibrant personality of the artist, but also her rich and diverse background, her far-ranging life experiences, her love for Haïti, and her passion for the arts.

Martineau “breathed art” from the earliest age. Born to a poet and a clothing designer, she grew up in Port-au-Prince in the home of her uncle, the architect and sculptor Albert Mangones. Mangones was a co-founder of the Centre d’Art, where all of Haïti’s artists congregated. Among his friends and frequent guests were Charlie Chaplin, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, le Corbusier, Alexander Calder, and Lois Mailou Jones, who was also Martineau’s godmother. Martineau recalls that, for her birthdays, these artists would give her paintings instead of toys.

Martineau approaches her work like a sculptor. She applies layers of paper of varying sizes and textures on a sheet of Arches paper and paints with acrylic over this support. Her subjects are delineated by a thick, black brushstroke, and brought to life with deep and bright colors. Finished with streaks of golden paint and a coat of varnish, the paintings’ rich, warm tones glimmer – with more or less intensity depending on the light – creating a feeling of intimacy. Although her themes are extremely varied, the same arresting style creates a cohesive ensemble that captures the imagination. 

Looking at these artworks is like reading a book, each layer corresponding to a different chapter. The serene gaze of the sitters, waiting expectantly or posing casually; the presence of the forest priestesses, vibrant and deeply empowered; the enigma of the masks and totems, reverberating energy… our interpretation of each piece depends on our own perceptions and experiences, on our mindset. The artwork not only takes us on a trip to the Caribbean, Africa or beyond, but also on a trip within us.

A graduate of the School of Fine Arts and Textile Design of the University of Medellín, in Colombia, and of the Corcoran School of Art, in Washington DC, Martineau has exhibited in Colombia, France, Haiti and the United States. Her work is featured in numerous collections.


Art Education
Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC, USA
BA in Fine Arts and Textile Design, University of Medellín, Colombia
Solo Exhibits
The Watergate Gallery, Washington DC
Femme-Fleurs, F. Clay-Tor Gallery, Washington, DC
Galerie Marassa, Miami, Florida
Galerie Marassa, Miami
Galerie Marassa, Miami, Florida
Tina’s Gallery, Potomac, MD
Tina’s Gallery, Potomac, MD
The Design Center, Miami
Levi Artefacts, Washington, DC, solo
Levi Artefacts, Washington DC
Galeria Botero, Medellin, Colombia
Duo Exhibits
The Watergate Gallery, Washington DC
The Watergate Gallery, Washington DC
L’Air du Temps – Artists Martineau & Ratinoff, The Watergate Gallery, Washington DC
Row Gallery, Arlington, Virginia
Tina’s Gallery, Potomac, MD
Collective Exhibits
Le Toit de la Grande Arche, Paris, France
The Watergate Gallery, Washington DC
Femmes et créations, Le Toit de la Grande Arche, Paris, France
The World Bank, Washington DC
Organization of the American States, Washington DC
International Art Forum, New Orleans
Galerie Marrasa, Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Galerie Marrasa, Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Galerie Marrasa, Miami, Florida
Galeria Botero, Medellin, Colombia
Gallery François, Washington DC, solo
Gallery François, Washington DC
Gallery François, Washington DC
The World Bank, Washington DC
Organization of American States
Embassy of Haiti in the United States
Levi Turner Collection
Several of her artworks have been gifted by collectors to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the
Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
[1] Created in 1944, the Centre d’Art was Haiti’s first entity dedicated to Haitian artists and an enhancer of artistic inspiration and creation on the island.