November 11, 2008

How it all began, Bonjour aux promeneurs, about environments and outsiders

photo courtesy of Marcello 14, (Flickr)
sculpture by Fernand Chatelain, as shown in the
Jardin de la Luna Rossa, Caen, Normandie, France

Bonjour aux promeneurs!
Welcome, visitors!

Visiting the Cathedral in Chartres when we were on holiday in France in the 1990's, my partner found a flyer about sights in Chartres and she said "We should see Picassiette".

Who? What?  Never heard anything about this before....

So we headed for Picassiette and we were totally overwhelmed. We viewed a house and a garden decorated with mosaic. Exterior, interior, walls, furniture, beds, everything, even madame´s sewing machine.

Like this:

picture courtesy of Jessica Straus

All that creative work was produced by a man of simple means, who lived a modest life, had no artistic education at all, a man who devoted some twenty years of his life to create what currently is called an art environment.

It was most impressive. And I had never ever heard about such creations

So that visit to La Maison Picassiette marked the beginning of a passion. I began collecting information on sites like this one in Chartres, in France and other countries in Europe.

And soon I learned there are a lot of such sites, some well known by the general public, like the Palais Ideal of facteur Cheval, some only known by a small number of interested people, some almost forgotten and in danger of decay, while an unknown number of sites has disappeared because of destruction, neglect or just the test of time.

I am doing this weblog with the objective to produce an inventory and documentary of art environments in Europe made by non-professional artists.  Making these sites better known to the general public is included in this objective.

On a special page you will find a general introduction to the topics dealt with in this blog and on another page I have referred to the sources I use in general and expressed acknowledgements.

This blog also has indexes that refer to art environments, one sorting alphabetically on names of creators and another one sorting on countries/regions.

Meanwhile other pages have been added:
- a timeline, listing events in the field of art environments in Europe on a meta-level
- a page listing expositions
- a page with an annotated bibliography
- a page listing museums and collections

Enjoy your visit !
Henk van Es

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