January 21, 2009

Robert Vasseur, La Maison de la vaisselle cassée/The Broken Crockery House

picture courtesy of Sophie Lepetit, from her weblog 

This outsider environment can be compared with the one made by Raymond Isidore (Picassiette), although it is less famous.
Life and works

A textile worker and milk transporter. Robert Vasseur (1908-2002) lived in the normandic commuity of Louviers in a house rented in 1942. After he could buy the house in 1948, Vasseur made several structural changes and in 1952, when he had broken a plate, he decorated a kitchen sink and a wall with some broken crockery.

Vasseur and his wife liked the result (mrs Vasseur in particular, because the mosaic decorated kitchen sink was easier to clean than the original one from reinforced concrete). So the couple decided it would be fine to have more mosaic decorated elements in their house.

Vasseur began a project that would keep him active for the next fifty years: decorating house and garden with mosaic from kitchenware, glass, sea shells and so on.

the dog kennel, used as such
(courtesy of 
Outsider Art in France)

The neighbours would bring him empty bottles and broken crockery which could be used in the creations.

Although Vasseur's art environment may be not so well known as the Maison Picassiette in Chartres, his creation is based upon the same principles and it has the same appearance. With respect to themes and the use of materials there are differences of course. For example, Isidore's creation has more religious connotations and he did not use shells.

decoration of an interior wall
picture (april 2010) courtesy of Jessica Straus

After Robert Vasseur died in 2002, his son Claude takes care of house and garden.

Sophie Lepit, author of the weblog Les grigris de Sophie, in the spring of 2010 paid a visit to the site. She was warmly welcomed by Claude Vasseur. He told her that he likes to go on restoring and developing the creative work of his father, both as a tribute and a continuation of the environment.

Documentation, more pictures

* Robert Vasseur appears in Jarvis Cocker's Journeys into the Outside (1999, on Youtube in 2012, see my post of august 23, 2012)
* Pictures (spring 2010) of the site by Sophie Lepetit on her weblog. You will find overviews and details
* The local Musée de Louviers has shown interest in the creation and published a book about it published (La maison aux papillons, 1966), text and photographs by Claude and Clovis Prévost
* Video Voyage en Normandie by Catalan 66270 (Youtube, 6'.05", uploaded nov 2009).

* The website Outsider Art in France has two pages with pictures of the site, both from the interior and the exterior.

first published jan 2009, revised jul 2010, dec, oct 2012, march 2013, sep 2014, sep 2016

Robert Vasseur
La Maison de la Vaisselle Cassée
80 Rue du Bal-Champêtre
27400 Louviers, Normandy, France
visits afternoons 15/4 - 15/10 15-17 hrs


  1. Great! I love posts like this and you have lots of it.

  2. du nouveau sur les grigris aujourd'hui !
    @ bientôt
    sophie (des grigris)