December 30, 2008

Rémy Callot, Palisade avec frescoes/Enclosure with frescoes

all pictures (2010) courtesy of Sophie Lepetit
from her website les grigris de sophie

This outsider environment was a hidden treasure, untill it was discovered after its author had died and the city wanted to demolish house and garden to construct a roundabout.

Life and works

Rémy Callot (1926-2001) lived in ihe industrious community of Carvin, in the north of France, where had an administrative function at the office of a mining company.

Due to an accident in his youth he had lost his left forearm, but this didn't stop him to make paintings and pottery as a self-taught artist. 

When Callot later in life moved to a house, actually more of a barack, with a plot of land of some 400 m2 at the avenue Montaigne in Carvin, he surrounded the site with a palisade and then, in the late 1980's, early 1990's he decorated the enclosure with colorful frescoes and mosaics.

After Callot died in 2001 his house remained unhabited and his art environment remained unnoticed.


However, this changed in 2006, when the city had developed plans for a new layout of the street to make a roundabout (or maybe a parking). At the moment the house had to be demolished, the frescoes were discovered. The authorities made the wise decision to postpone the public works and preserve the artwork.
The city's cultural center, Centre Jean Eiffel, has been actively involved in this decision.

Future of the site

The frescoes nowadays are on display on the enclosure walls of Callot's plot. A kind of open air exhibition.

In november 2008 the "Cercle des amis de Rémy Callot" was formed, a group of friends active in promoting Callot's work. It's being discussed what should be done with this environment. Maybe the site will become kind of a musée jardin, an open air musem, but it probably will take time to develop plans and trace funding.

End november 2013 the newspaper Voix du Nord reported that a Foundation  has developed a plan to transform the site into an artist's residence with a workshop, annex to a room for conferences, an exposition room and a café. One is seeking funding for this project.


In september 2011 the Centre Jean Eiffel in Carvin had an exposition of Callot's ceramics.

picture courtesy of  Centre Jean Eiffel

It turns out that some two hundred ceramic creations were part of  his legacy which was donated to the city by the family. This collection, mostly in a rather good condition, gives a good impression of Callot's artistic potential.

Pictures of exposed ceramics on the FB-page of the Cercle des Amis de Rémy Callot (Group of Friends)

Documentation/more pictures
* Series of pictures on the city's Flickr page 
* Tiphaine Kempka, La découverte du jardin secret de Rémy Callot, in: d'Étonnants jardins en Nord-Pas de Calais, Lyn (Ed. Lieux-dits), 2015. pp. 32-35
The internet has a dynamic representation by Typhaine Kempka of the plan of the Fondation Callot

Rémy Callot
Palisade with mosaics
Carvin, Pas de Calais,  France
on the corner of the rue de la Gare 
and the avenue Montaigne
mosaic can be seen from the street

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