November 19, 2008

Jean Grard, Jardin sculpté/Sculpture garden

picture (around 2002) by Bernard Dattas, Zon'Art no 7 
(magazine no longer available on internet)

Life and works

A hard working farmer all his life, Jean Grard (1928-2004) lived in the small community la Barre/Baguer-Pican in Normandy, France.

In 1995, at the age of 67, he became retired. One day, having installed a bought windvane in his garden, he got the idea that he himself could construct such an item as well, which he did and which made him think about making more constructions.

So he went on, making all kinds of structures and statues: an Eiffel tower, impersonations of well known people, accordeon players, and so on. To create these constructions, he used wood and scrap material.

picture courtesy of Art Insolite Amis

Jean Grard also liked to make girouette-like constructions with moving parts, as shown in above picture.

His works are characterized by the bright and lively colours he used to paint them. When he started making the creative constructs, he would expose them in the garden in front of the house, later on, however, he would also make smaller items, which he used to decorate the interior walls of the family home. 

picture from the website foutraque

When Jean Grard for some nine years had been active in making creations, he ended his life july 2004,.

In september 2004 his widow went to live in a home for the elderly and the house has been sold.

Works donated to the Lille Art Museum

The various creative constructs have been removed (and safely stored) with the help of the association l'Abri (Art Brut Rural et Industriel), founded by french theater maker Patricia Allio. The process of removal has been documented on film. l'Abri also has arranged an exposition in Jean Grard's  honour (in le Grand Logis in the community of Bruz, near Rennes, febr/march 2006).

Around 2010 the family has donated a large part of Jean Grard's creative legacy to the Lille Art Museum.

Some documentation
Juliette Dieudonné, Jean Grard (1928-2004) (in french)
* a diashow on the Animula Vagula weblog
* Patricia Allio interviews Jean Grard (around 2002, ZonÁrt nr 7, in french)
* Patricia Allio (text) and Juliette Dieudonné (photographs), l´Art brut deplacé, Hommage à Jean Grard, Rennes (Ed. Apogée), 2006, -61p.

first published nov 2008, revised jun 2010, march 2012, jan 2013

Jean Grard
Jardin sculpté
la Barre/Baguer-Pican, Normandie, FR
constructs no longer in situ, 
a large number of works donated to LaM 


  1. Hello Mr Van Hes. I have known Jean Grard, with the help of Patricia Allio.
    I don't think that the accordeonist is Yvette Horner. Maybe a clown in a circus, I believe.
    Jean Grard has been creating Yvette Horner. But he was putting red hair on her it is on the living model.
    Friendfully yours, Bruno Montpied

  2. Thanks a lot for the comment, mr Montpied. I have corrected the text of the note. When I wrote this one (nov 2008),I never had heard of mrs Yvette Horner, so I rather easily jumped to conclusions. Since then I came along her and her representations many times, so now I know better. Cordialement, Henk van Es