February 24, 2009

Danielle Jacqui, La maison de Celle-Qui-Peint/The house of She-Who-Paints

The picture above shows the facade of a house in the neighbourhood of Pont l´Étoile in the community of Rocquevaire in the south of France. This Maison de celle qui paint (the house of she-who-paints), fully decorated by its inhabitant Danielle Jacqui, has become a famous creation in the field of art environments, well known both inside and outside France.

Life and works

Born in 1934 in Nice, Danielle Jacqui at a young age already was attracted to creative activities, but due to personal circumstances she initially couldn't pursue an artistic direction.

Married in 1952 she became divorced in 1970 and then she became a brocanteuse -someone who trades in curiosities. She had a stand on local markets, where she also exposed the paintings she had begun to make.

In the 1970's Jacqui mainly was active in making paintings.Her first exposition was in 1976, in Marseille.

She took some art lessons. In a post of 22-02-2009 on her weblog she described how she entered these art classes in the same way as she went into the world of brocantes: without any preparation or schooling.

But, as she explains: "I knew how to be free enough to go for a direction different from the one that presented itself as self-evident:  the provencalists, the impressionists, the aquarellists, the pastellists, the painters making oil paintings, tarred and covered with patina on request... (les provencalistes, les impressionistes, les aquarelleux, les pastelleux, les huileux goudronnés et patinés a souhait....). 

Indeed, Danielle Jacqui has her opinion about mainstream art and artists.

It is not surprising that she felt more at home with those artists in the south of France who united under the banner of art singulier. Danielle Jacqui herself has been rather active in bringing them together, for example by taking the lead in organizing from 1990 on festivals of art singulier in her home town Roquevaire.

This festival would develop into a biennial in Aubagne, famous for many years: the Festival d'art singulier. When in 2014 the local authorities ordered the removal of some artworks they considered pornographic, the festival was canceled. In 2015 it returned to Roquevaire.

The Roquevaire project

In 1982, after she had visited Robert Tatin's art environment La Maison des Champs, a site near Laval in France, she began decorating the facade and the interior of her house in Roquevaire, where she lived since 1961.

This became a passionate project in the 1980's. Exterior and interior of the house have been completely decorated in bright colors.

The interior has a colorful collection of artistic dolls and all walls, ceilings and staircases have been decorated with mosaics, paintings and inscriptions.

picture from Sophie Lepetit's weblog

The facade of the house has been redecorated a number of times. The picture below shows the facade as it was in november 2015. In 2016 Danielle Jacqui -at age 82- for the fourth time repainted it.

picture from Facebook

The Aubagne project

From 2006 on Danielle Jacqui has been active in an extensive project in Aubagne: the Colossal d' art brut ORGANuGAMME, a project scheduled to be completed in 2016.

picture from Danielle´s weblog.

Originally meant to transform the facade of the Aubagne train station into an international artistic attraction by decorating it completely with all kind of brightly colored ceramics, sculptures of some twelve meters high included, in the course of 2014/2015 a start has been made to assemble the parts of the artwork along a roundabout that marks the eastern entrance of the town.

However, after local elections in 2014 a new political climate reigned and the new authorities of Aubagne showed themselves no longer interested in this artwork. 

Meanwhile the Swiss community of Renens, not far from Lausanne, expressed it's interest in the creation and proposed to install (the largest part of) the Colossal d'Art Brut on the premises of the Ferme de Tilleuls, a 17th century estate bought in 2008 by the community with a view to transform it into a cultural centre.

Early 2016 the relocation took place. The Colossal d'Art Brut ORGANuGAMME II ultimately will decorate one of the buildings, l' Annexe, on the premises of the cultural centre.

Smaller parts of the Colossal will go the Musée des Arts Modestes (Sète, France), the Musée Anatole Jakovsky (Nice, France) and.the Collection de l'Art Brut (Lausanne, Switzerland).

Chapelle Saint-Sauveur
(photo by Eduard-rainaut, Wikimedia)

The ORGANuGAMMusEum Danielle Jacqui

Other parts of the Colossal have been included in a new museum devoted to the work of Danielle Jacqui, which is housed in the ancient Chapelle Saint-Sauveur in the community of Draguignan in southern France, a building in Romanesque style, specially made available for this purpose by the municipality.

This ORGANuGAMMusEum Danielle Jacqui, that comprises around 150 works dating from 1970 to the present, was inaugurated on July 4, 2019.

pictures (2019) by Michel Ferdinand (on Facebook)

As the photo of the chapel shows, the building has high walls. All interior walls are up to the ceiling and seamlessly covered with creations, as also is the case in the Danielle Jacqui's house. It is not out of place to state that the interior of the chapel has been transformed into an art environment

* Danielle Jacqui's FB page
* Michèle Perez, "La Maison de Celle Qui Paint and the Colossal d'Art Brut", in: Raw Vision 73 (Fall/Autumn 2011)
*The weblog of Sophie Lepetit has the story, both of the Aubagne project and of the exterior and the interior of the house in Pont l´Étoile, see posts of 10/9/2011, 11/9/2011, 12/9/2011 and 13/9/2011 (in french, but lots of wonderful pictures); see also her post of 9/25/2014 (pics of the interior)
* Article on SPACES website 
* A video (23'05", You Tube,  may 2016) by Cendrine Muller entitled Un jour en Avril avec Danielle Jacqui (An April day with Danielle Jacqui)

first published feb 2009, last revised july 2019

Danielle Jacqui
La Maison de Celle-Qui-Peint
Pont de l'Etoile
13360 Roquevaire, dept Bouches du Rhône, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
facade of the house can be seen from the street
the Colossal d'Art Brut can be seen in Renens, Switzerland


  1. I'm going to have to get out a big map of France, hang it on the wall, and start sticking thumbtacks in to highlight all these sites ; so as to better plan the best circuit to visit them all in an efficient manner... she must be an amazing lady, Danielle !

  2. Wow, it really is "Colossal", Danielle's blog... quite a huge amount of material to sift through there, I took a quick look, but will have to go back again when I have more time... one creative lady !

  3. and the bing translations of her blog are very difficult to follow