Petion Savain was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on February 15, 1906. He studied at the Haitian School of Agronomy from which received a degree in law. He began painting in 1931 and by his early thirties he was also the author of one book, La Case de Damballah. La Case de Damballah was published in 1939 (Imprimerie de L'Etat) and republished in 1970 (Kraus Reprint). The novel also appeared in the 1943 publication Les Oeuvres Nouvelles, Vol. 3 (Edition De La Maison Francaise).
Savain is considered one of the fathers of Haitian painting; he was the first Haitian painter to receive recognition when he was awarded medals at the Gallery of Science and Art (New York World Fair’s Fair) and the IBM Medal (Treasure Island World’s Fair) in 1939- five years before the opening of the Centre d'Art. He started painting while teaching cabinet making, tin smiting and wrought iron at the same school. He studied at the Art Student's League in New York in 1941, where his second book, Les Oeuvres Nouvelles, was published a year later. His quest for knowledge was insatiable. A lawyer, painter, author and teacher of the arts, Savain was also a student of mural and fresco techniques, tempera, wood sculpture. He even found time to become a newspaper columnist from 1950 to 1956 during which time he appeared in over six art books.
Many Haitian artists had copied Savain’s style, but his pinks and purples are instantly recognizable, as is his use of semicircles and triangles in which painted figures crouch or sit. His artistic works, known for their bright colors, have been displayed in many reputable art galleries and the Grand Central and Riverside Museum in New York. Petion Savain died in 1973.