December 05, 2008

Lucien Favreau, La maison la bohème / The bohemian house

picture from the weblog les inspirés du bord des routes
(not available anymore on the internet)

La Bohème is a relatively unknown art environment in the Charente area in south-west France. It has various kinds of creative constructions: sculptures from concrete, frescoes on a wall and paintings

Life and works

This site is the lifetime work of Lucien Favreau (1912-1990), a mason and plasterer, who lived outside the small community of Yviers.

Favreau began creating this environment in 1963, when he made an ornamented tomb for his beloved dog Zazzy that had died.

Favreau would continue making this kind of artwork for the rest of his life.

this picture and the next two courtesy of the 
 author of website Outsider Art in France
His sculptures, mainly made from concrete, represent all kind of public and well-known personalities, like famous football players, Mireille Mathieu, George Brassens, general de Gaulle,  but also Scrooge McDuck (Picsou in french) and Charlie Chaplin,

Favreau's father died in World War I on the battlefields of north-eastern France and the site has a tomb to his memory, reading "Verdun". The picture below shows that the style is rather intimate and lovingly and not monumental at all.

tomb in honour of Favreau's father, who fell in WWI
Favreau also decorated the exterior of the house with frescoes. There are various pictures representing the family and there is a portrait of facteur Cheval.

His daughter and son-in-law presented him a book about Ferdinand Cheval, the creator of the Palais Idéal in Hauterives, whom Favreau regarded as his master.

The text on the frescoe reads My friend, my dog / my master, Cheval.

Ferdinand Cheval
In the interior of the house the walls and the ceiling have been decorated. There are curious kinds of paintings on the wall (Goya, Hitler, Mona Lisa). The ceiling has a big octopus. One of the walls has a large frescoe of the Treblinka concentration camp.

Generally speaking visitors restrict themselves to looking around in the garden at the outside. That is understandable, because there is a family living in the house. As a result, most pictures on the internet show exterior scenes.  

The site is cared for

After Favreau died in 1990, the sculptured garden is cared for by his daughter and her husband, who live in the house. The garden, located along a local road, can be freely visited. A donation for the maintenance of the sculptures would be appreciated.

Documentation/more pictures
Website Habitants-Paysagistes with a series of photos (1981, 1983) by Francis David
Series of pictures (2012) by Guénola Moreau on Google Photos (formerly Picasa)
* Website Outsider Art in France (September 2007, in english)
* Weblog Animula Vagula has a slide show
* Article (July 2010) by Isabelle Louvier in french journal Sud-Ouest  
* Pictures (2010) and story on les Grigris de Sophie weblog, part 1 (general) and part 2 (details)
* On the website of Jeanine Rivais a report of a visit to the site (January 2018), where Léon Gobin, son-in-law of Favreau, gives an explanation of the creations
Article about the site by Sonia Terhzaz on her website Cartographie des Rocamberlus (environments d'art singulier), reporting the visit she paid in September 2021

first published December 2008, last revised April 2023

Lucien Favreau
La maison la Bohème
16210 Yviers, dept Charente, region Nouvelle Aquitaine, France
can be seen from the street 
to visit the site please contact the family
at nr 05 45 98 09 49

No comments:

Post a Comment