May 04, 2009

André Hardy, Le bestiaire fantastique / The fantastic bestiary

this picture and the next two courtesy of Sophie Loubaton

Part of a large collection of other animals, above dog in front of a shell- and mosaic-decorated kennel, during many years kept watch at the Hardy estate. Unfortunately, this art environment doesn't exist anymore.

Life and works

André Hardy (1921-2013) and his wife Thérèse lived quietly in Saint-Quentin-les-Chardonnets, a community of some 300 inhabitants in Normandy, France.

An ironmonger (ferronnier, in French) by profession, around 1971, at age fifty, Hardy began making sculptures, mainly depicting all kinds of animals life-size. He displayed the sculptures in his garden which in this way was transformed into a bestiaire fantastique, a fantastic bestiary.

Hardy has been active in making these creations until the early 1990s and then, becoming older, he refrained from creating new ones, but kept active in taking care of the menagerie and welcoming visitors.

the garden could be seen from the road

When Hardy was approaching age ninety he moved to a home for the elderly and sold his house.

Early 2011 it was announced that the sculptures were on sale through the Grenier de Marco, a French company located in Normandy, which trades in (surplus) furniture, books, garden utensils, etc.

Hardy's sculptures have been advertised on the company's website as art brut pour jardin (art brut for the garden) without any indication of prices (The relevant web page is not available anymore on the internet).

for sale on Grenier de Marco

Some sculptures have been bought by the Lille Art Museum, others by private collectors, like this fisherman:

this picture courtesy of ML

March 2013 André Hardy passed away.

Website Habitants-paysagistes (by Lille Art Museum from March 2018 on) has a series of pictures by Francis David (1982-1983)
* The website of photographer Sophie Loubaton has a set of pictures of the site
* A study by Mélanie Paul-Hazard. "Spécificités de la conservation muséale de fragments d'environnements d'art brut. Étude de trois sculptures zoomorphes en mortier de ciment armé peint de André Hardy (Specifications of museum conservation of fragments of art brut environments. Study of three zoomorphic sculptures in painted reinforced cement mortar by André Hardy). 

* Video shot around 2010, with additional sequences of the Rémy Ricordeau/Bruno Montpied movie Bricoleurs de Paradis (2011); available on Vimeo, the part about Hardy continues until 2'20"

Andre Hardy
Le bestiaire fantastique
61800 Saint-Quentin-les-Chardonnets, dept Orne, region Normandy, France
site doesn't exist anymore

1 comment:

  1. More beasts for the bestiary ! Another fine find Henk ! I really don't know how you do it...