For the 24th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, professor and Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen's University, will deliver the keynote lecture, “The Palace of Sans-Souci in Milot, Haiti (c. 1806-1813): The Untold Story of the Potsdam of the Rainforest.”
One of the most dramatic and least-studied neoclassical buildings in the Western Hemisphere, King Henry I Christophe’s opulent palace in Haiti towers over the agricultural town of Milot. Construction began circa 1806, less than a decade after Haitian independence, under Henry I, the Americas’ 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.
Using unpublished archival sources and a photographic survey undertaken in 2017, this lecture will examine the circumstances, influences, and builders of this extraordinary monument.