July 19, 2024

Guerino Antonelli, Villino Antonelliano / Small villa of Antonelli

this image and the next two (November 2022) are screenprints 
from Google Streetview
 
The decorated house in above image is located in Botticino, a community of some 11.000 inhabitants in the Lombardy region in the north of Italy. 

Life and works 

This villino (small villa) is a creation of Guerino Antonelli (1925-1995), who was a mason, decorator and painter by profession. He was married and dreamed of moving with his wife Edvige into a self-built accommodation. 

He would have preferred to build a ship, but it became a a self-designed house with two floors and a basement, which he not only constructed himself, but which he also lavishly decorated.

Antonelli completed the project in a relatively short time, working on it from 1958 to 1963.


Behind the self-designed fence along the street, the house rises with a decorated front from top to bottom. On the roof, the top of the chimney is kind of a castle and elsewhere on the roof there is concrete sculpture depicting a ship. 

The part of the top floor overlooking the street has a narrow balcony that is shielded by a low
copper-colored iron fence.

The frontside  of the house has a special architecture with exuberant windows and is completely covered with frescoes and mosaics, that depict a variety of different scenes, such as a person looking out at a lake with sailboats or two farmers near a farm.

Even the glassware in the windows conveys certain scenes and in the image below one can see that the center piece of the window includes sculptures in high relief;

In the outdoor area behind the house there is a large stone wood-fired oven, which is topped by a sculpture of a bear that resembles the character in movies and comic books Yogi Bear. Walls of the house that are not visible from the street are sometimes decorated with colorful surfaces or life-size portraits, such as a mother and a child,  as can be seen on the website Costruttori di Babele.


Almost thirty years after Antonelli's death, the decorations he made are still largely in good condition, although the colors have faded somewhat.

Documentation
* Entry on the website Costruttori di Babele, with a variety of pictures
Article about Antonelli's creation in the publication of the Follies Fellowship entitled Outsider Art in Italy, contributed by Pieter and Rita Boogaart
* Article by Giada Carraro on the website Spaces archives

Guerino Antonelli
Villino Antonelliano
Via Carini 104
25082 Botticino, dept Brescia, region Lombardy, Italy
can be seen from the road

July 12, 2024

Bernard Aubert, Jardin de sculptures ressuscité / Resurrected sculpture garden

this image and the next one (June 2024) published here in
agreement with the editors of the website Tipeek Photos

In Durtal, a community with about 3300 inhabitants (January 2021) in the west of France in the Maine-et-Loire department, there is a sculpture garden that some ten years ago has disappeared for several years.

Here's the story.


Life and works

The sculpture garden was created by Bernard Aubert, who was born in the mid 1920s and passed away on April 30, 2013, aged 88 years. 

The internet has virtually no biographical information about him, also not regarding the year he started decorating the garden near the house just outside the built-up area of ​​Durtal, along the departmental road D18. 

As to the moment of inception, the photos of Francis David, added below, are important, because these photos were taken in 1990 and it can be seen that in that year the site was already somewhat developed, which could mean that Aubert started construction in the 1980s.

However, since the art environment in 1990 did not yet have the allure that we see in the photos from 2024 and it is known that Aubert was admitted to a retirement home in 2010, it can be assumed that most of the design took place in the 1990s and in the early years of the 21st century.

this image and the next three show scenes of the garden in 1990 
on photos courtesy of Francis David, currently 
in the collection of the Lille Art Museum

Aubert, who had a son and a daughter, lived alone in the house from an unknown moment and because his health was declining he was admitted to a home for the elderly in 2010. He would die there in 2013.

After his departure to the retirement home, his daughter would have liked to live in her father's house, but the she would have had to buy out her brother, who was entitled to half of the inheritance upon Aubert's death, but such a deal was beyond her reach at that time.







So the house was put up for sale in 2012, but before this took place, the daughter had removed all the creations from the garden and stored them safely.

The house was bought by a young couple, who broke up after a few years and left the house, that was put up for sale again 

Aubert's daughter and her husband seized their opportunity, bought the house and redesigned the garden with all the stored creations. 


Bernard Aubert's art environment is looking beautiful these days, which can especially be seen in the images posted in June 2024 on the recently published new French website Tipeek Photos.

Documentation
* Entry on the website Habitants-Paysagistes of the Lille Art Museum
* Article (June 2023) on the website Tipeek Photos
* Article in Brno Montpied, Le gazouillis des éléphants, Paris (Ed du Sandre), 2017

Bernard Aubert
Sculpture garden
Route de la Promenade 277 (D18) 
Lieu-dit La Promenade
49430 Durtal,  dept Maine-et-Loire, region Pays de la Loire, France
can be seen from the road

July 05, 2024

Emilio Billegi, Giardino delle sculture / Sculpture garden


all images (July 2023) from Google Streetview

The small hamlet of Leggiana with sixty inhabitants in the 2001 census, is located in central Italy at an altitude of more than 500 meters. 

It is crossed by the Strada Statale (national highway) No. 77 and along that road, visible to passers-by, is a sculpture garden.

Life and works

This garden is a creation of Ermilio Billegi, who died in 2018 at the age of 94. In all likelihood, his wife Antonia has also died, but at first glance the garden in July 2023 was still in good condition

Born in 1924, Billegie was in the early 1940s, when Italy was entering World War II, at such an age that he had to participate in the war as a soldier.

In that situation he suffered such an injury that he was no longer able to work for the rest of his life and was financially dependent on war benefits.

There is no documentation available regarding the year in which Billegi settled in Leggiana with his wife or when he started decorating the garden along the street in front of the house.

The art environment is particularly characterized by a multitude of concrete sculptures, including many that depict animals, such as a goose on a fountain (as in the image above right), a rooster (as in the image below), but also  a dog, a duck, a snail, storks, horses and a giraffe.

A special creation, which is generally not found in art environments, is a horizontal map of Italy contained in a white-stone border line, depicted in the image above left       


As the image at the very top and the one below show, the garden also includes sculptures of people, including Adam and Eve, and also, in the form of a bust, portraits of the Billegi couple.

The garden also features sculptures of celestial bodies, such as the five-pointed star below, and a sculpture of a moon elsewhere in the garden.


Documentation
Article by Giada Carraro on her website Bric-a-Brac Italia. (To my knowledge, this article is the only documentation available about this art environment, so I would like to mention that the text above is based on the information provided in this article)

Emilio Billegi

Sculpture garden

10 Strada Statale 77 della Val di Chienti

Leggiana, hamlet in the city of Foligno, dept. Perugia, region Umbria, Italy

can be seen from the road

Google Streetview, July 2023

June 28, 2024

Wieslaw Węgrowski, Ogród i szopy z dekoracjami / Garden and sheds with decorations

photos courtesy of Andrzej Kwasiborski, as on Facebook

In Wloclawek, a city with around 107,000 inhabitants (2021) in central Poland, there is an art environment consisting of a garden and sheds with all kinds of decorative items.

Life and works

This art environment was created by Wieslaw Węgrowski about whom virtually no biographical information is available on the Internet, except that he currently is retired.





From the photos that became available on Facebook after Andrzej Kwasiborski visited the site, much can be learned about the composition and design of this art environment.

The items collected by Węgrowski, partly self-created, mostly of not too large size, are situated in the garden near his house, both in the open air and in a few built structures, such as a single barn and the wooden shelter connected to a tree in the very first photo.

As for the self-made creations, two types of creations stand out, namely the sculptures and the many portraits and other drawn or painted works.

As can be seen in the image below, the collection of sculptures mainly includes creations in the form of busts or sometimes just the head, made in natural size and mostly arranged in mutual harmony on small, beautifully arranged elevations in the open air. 

This also applies to the extensive collection of paintings that have been brought together in this art environment, of which the image above left gives an impression.

This photo also shows a collection of oil lamps. 

The art environment has all kinds of collections of these types of items. Like there is a large number of horseshoes, which are beautifully arranged in different places and form a decorative element. 

There is also a collection of tools, such as long-handled axes, displayed on the wall of a shed, just as bowls, glasses, bottles, cups, pots, cart wheels, tongs and scissors, standing or hanging in line, are also richly represented.

 

This art environment in Poland is not very well known. As far as could be determined, there are no references to the site on the internet or in local news media in Poland.  So far the only source of information is the short review on Facebook mentioned in the documentation.

Documentation
* Review by Andrzej Kwasiborski on Facebook, with a series of photos.

Wieslaw Węgrowski
Garden and shed with decorations
address not available
Włocławek, Kuyavian–Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland

June 21, 2024

Heikki Meriläinen, Maalauksia, piirustuksia ja veistoksia / Paintings, drawings and sculptures


images (by Veli Granö) published here in agreement with the
Finnish Association for Rural Culture and Education (MSL)

Characterized by a large number of hand-made artistic items in both the interior and exterior, Heikki Merilainen's house is located in Hanko, a town with approximately 8,000 inhabitants on the south coast in the far west of Finland.

Life and works

Meriläinen, currently in his mid-80s, was born in 1938 on the other side of the country in Tuupovaara, a community in North Karelia in eastern Finland, near the border with Russia.

He grew up in a farming community, and because it was wartime, many young fathers had been drafted to serve in the military.

After primary school Meriläinen studied to become a construction draftsman and architect.





Once qualified, Meriläinen moved to the city of Hanko, where he started working as an architect. 

The family lived in a house designed by Meriläinen and built with his own hands. It became a nice, light house with a studio, which he needed for his work. But not only that, he also had the studio because he had become interested in art and wanted to be creatively active. He had therefore previously taken a course by correspondence in art history and artistic design.

In his spare time he made sculptures, paintings and drawings. 

Images in this article show some of the sculptures he made. All in all a considerable amount, not too large qua format, quite expressive and partly mounted on the wall of a shed near the house, a method of exhibition we see more often in Finland.

In his paintings and drawings he depicted Finnish landscapes that no longer exist in that capacity and also Finnish ways of life that are now lost, such as horses pulling sleds, however not in a nostalgic style, but rather with a timeless character.

Nowadays Meriläinen lives alone in his house. 
  

Documentation
Article by Heini Heikkilä on the website of the Finnish Association for rural culture 
and education MSL  

Heikki Meriläinen
Paintings, drawings and sculptures
No address available
Hanko, region Uusimaa, Finland 

June 14, 2024

Josian Izoird, La cabane de Josian à la Pointe Courte / Josian's cabin at Pointe Courte


images are screenprints from the video in the documentation

Facing the Mediterranean Sea, Sète is a town with just under 45,000 inhabitants (2021) in the south of France in the Hérault department. The city is located at the beginning of a long dam, running parallel to the coastal strip. Between this strip and the dam is a lagoon or inland sea.

A small area of ​​the city, called Pointe Courte (Short Tip), which extends into this inland sea, has traditionally been a place where fishermen live and hang their nets to dry and where a variety of cabins lines the waterfront. 

The image above shows one of these cabins, topic in this post. More pictures, giving an impression of the area, can be seen on  Google Streetview. 


The cabin in the picture is Josian's cabin, a shelter that Josian Izoird, who was born in Sète in 1954, uses as a studio.

As a young man he was already interested in artistic activities, but following an education in visual art was out of reach for him. 

So he became a fisherman. 










Once retired, probably around 2014, he was able to devote himself to artistic activities. 

The images around give an impression of the kind of artworks he made.


However, he also used the space in front of the cabin, which was public area, as a place to display all kinds of more or less artistic objects. 

This exhibition outside of the studio grew steadily.


Local residents had different opinions about the display, some were sympathetic, but others thought it was just a mess. 

And so it happened that at the end of 2017 the latter residents turned to the local authorities with a complaint about the display. 

Around Christmas Sètes' local authorities gave order to remove all items exposed in the public space.

the French text says: forbidden to annoying people

In part of the art world in Sète, this led to expressions of support for Izoird, especially from Pascal Larderet, who from 2008 for fifteen years caused a lot of cultural commotion in Sète with his Cacahuète company. 

In defense and support of artists like Izoird, an account was opened on Facebook entitled Front de Libération de l'Art Modeste (Front for the Liberation of Modest Art) and on May 1, 2018 a festive meeting (see images on FB) was organized near Izoird's workshop, where the exterior decoration had been reduced to a minimum.

After this festival, Joseph Izoird continued his artistic activities more or less quietly in the following years.

The display along the street has returned, with a more modest, but still colorful design. Kind of a small-scale art environment. 

 

Documentation 

* Article in the Francebleu news magazine about the removal of the decorative items outside the barn and the subsequent development of a counter-movement
Account on Facebook of the Front de libération de l'art modeste (Modest Art Liberation Front)  

Video 

* Video (May 2023, YouTube, 4'09") by Jean Michel Guidez




Joseph Izoird

Josian's cabin at Pointe Courte

195 Allée du Jeu de Boules, Sète, dept Hérault, region Occitanie, France

can be seen from the street
Google Streetview with visitors watching the display and a photo of one of the items

June 07, 2024

Josep Almar, Museu del Rat Penat de Mascanada / El Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada


 all images courtesy of Dominique Clement, as on Facebook


Near the small valley Mascanada in the countryside west of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, a town of almost 22,000 inhabitants (2016) in Catalonia, Spain, not far from the border with France, there is a museum called Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada

The decorated building shown above is part of the site where the museum is located.

Created by the museum's owner, Josep Almar, these decorations are so numerous and of such a signature that all together they form a special art environment.

Life and works

Josep Almar was born in Sant Feliu de Guixols in 1949. He left primary school a year earlier than usual and subsequently he had all kinds of professions, such as mechanic, electrician and plumber.

In 1972, when he was 27, Josep married Mariángela Sayols Dausa. They had a daughter and a son.

Almar wanted to build a beautiful house, something like a palace, for his family. To this end, he bought a piece of land in 1974 near the Mascanada  Valley. There, helped by some friends, he built a two-storey house.


After 15 years, of marriage, Josep and his wife separated, without an official divorce, because Mariangela wanted to live again in the center of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Probably a few years later his son and daughter also started living independently and then Almar lived alone in the house.


He had developed a hobby involving collecting objects and instruments in all kinds of areas, such as old machines, tools and scale models of ships.


And now he got the idea to turn the house into a museum, where he could exhibit his collection


Almar transformed the five rooms of the living area of ​​the house into museum halls, where he installed paintings his father had made and all the special items he had collected in previous years.

After years of preparation, the museum was officially opened on July 15, 2007. Almar was then 60 years old and in all likelihood he was retired by now







After seven years, in 2014, the museum was closed.
 
This probably had to do with the fact that Almar wanted to spend all his time in transforming the one hectare of land on which the museum was located, into an art environment.

However, from 2014 onwards it could happen that interested parties got access to the museum, but only if this was suitable for Almar in terms of realizing the art environment.


As the images in this article show, creating the art environment was an extensive project, which included not only decorating all kinds of buildings on the site, but also creating new decorative items, such as the animal in the image below.

Both the existing buildings and the stand-alone items are  lavishly decorated. 

Working with colored pieces of mosaic (trencadis in Spain) plays an important role and flower decorations are a popular item.


What will happen to the museum and the art environment if Almar is no longer here, has not yet been arranged. Family members have already indicated that they do not want a role in this. 

The municipality seems to be positive about a takeover, but nothing has been officially recorded yet and in addition, the municipality has mainly shown itself to be interested in some parts of the museum, and seems less interested in the maintenance of the entire complex.

 

Documentation
* Weblog by Josep Almar, 2008-2016
* Facebook of the Rat Penat Museum
* Article (undated) by Anna Jurado on her website, with a series of photos
Article (June 2018) on local newspaper Guixols des del Carrer-ECP
Article (September 2019) in regional newspaper El Pont Avui
Article (June 2023) about Josep Almar's creation by Jo Farb Hernandez in her book 
   Singular Spaces II, pp 288-299
Article (August 2023) on the newspaper of Ràdio Capital, with a series of photos 

Video
* Video (2015, YouTube, 8'37") by Josep Almar

 

Josep Almar
Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada
Camino de les Comes, 16
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, dept Girona, region Catalunya, Spain
visiting the museum only if Almar agrees
most decorations can be seen from the road
Google Streetview with some 250 photos