January 21, 2009

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

picture courtesy of Sophie Lepetit, from her weblog 

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

Textile worker and milk transporter. Robert Vasseur (1908-2002) lived in the Normandy community of Louviers in a house he had 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 
picture (2007) courtesy of website Outsider Art in France

The neighbors 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 took 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 would like to continue restoring and developing this art environment, both as a tribute to and a continuation of his father's work.

picture courtesy of Sophie Lepetit

* Robert Vasseur appears in Jarvis Cocker's Journeys into the Outside (1999, on YouTube in 2012)
* Pictures (spring 2010) of the site by Sophie Lepetit on her weblog. with overviews and details
* The local Musée de Louviers has published the book La maison aux papillons (1966), text and photographs by Claude and Clovis Prévost
* The website Outsider Art in France has two pages with pictures of the site, both from the interior and the exterior.
* Report of a visit to the site in February 2017 by Jessica Straus
* Article by Sonia Terhzaz, reporting the visit she paid to the site in 2020 on her website Cartographie des Rocamberlus
* Website Habitants-paysagistes (by Lille Art Museum from March 2018 on) has a series of pictures by Francis David (1983) and l'Aracine (1981-1986), and also documentary panels by André Escard (1984-2008)

* Video Voyage en Normandie by Catalan 66270 (2009, YouTube, 6'.05")

first published January 2009, last revised April 2023

Robert Vasseur
La Maison de la Vaisselle Cassée  
80 Rue du Bal-Champêtre
27400 Louviers, dept Eure, region Normandy, France
site not open to the public


  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)