May 24, 2009

Pierre Dange, Palais artistique / Artistic palace

 postcard courtesy of Bastiaan van der Velde ¹

Some people who made art environments are only known and remembered because of old picture postcards which portray them and their place of living.

The picture above is such an old postcard. It dates back from around 1910 and shows a house named Palais Artistique, which in former times existed in Rogny-les-sept-écluses, a small village of about 700 inhabitants in the center of France.

The house was constructed by someone named Pierre Dange. The postcard above ¹ has the name Dauge, but this probably is a mistake. French weblog Vasavoir-Afga (which focuses upon the community of Rogny) has a picture of the nameplate at the entrance of the demolished house, which reads Dange.

picture from the website vasavoir-afga

The story is that Dange constructed this house with his own hands, giving it a special appearance with its strange roof and the sturdy walls with just a few windows. The top of these walls have elements that in French are called meurtrières, small openings in a wall to observe enemy forces and shoot at them.

For Pierre Dange they had the function to defend the house "in case the Prussians would return ". Apart from other things, this could mean that anyhow the house was constructed after 1870, the year of the French-Prussian war.

The house was located in the higher parts of the rue Hugues Cosnier, a street that still exists in Rogny.

Here is another postcard with Dange posing as a painter. The portrait represents someone (a king, a queen?) with a crown.

Pierre Dange posing in front of a painting
(from the website vasavoir)  

Not much is known about Pierre Dange's activities as a painter. In his weblog (November 15, 2011), Bruno Montpied has presented a picture of a painting that may have been made by Dange. It suggests he worked in a naive style.

As said, the house doesn't exist anymore. And probably most of the current residents of Rogny have no memories of Pierre Dange either, maybe with the exception of an octogenarian lady who told Jean-Michel Chesné that she, at the age of around seven, visited him. At that time, around 1930, Pierre Dange already was a very old, not so friendly man, who lived in a distressed condition. As far as the lady remembers, there were no paintings around in the house.  

Rogny-les-sept-écluses by the way is known because of the construction of locks (seven on a row, like a staircase) in the Canal de Briare, digged between 1604 and 1642, to connect the Loire and the Seine rivers. This canal would provide the country with an interior waterway from the north to the Mediterranean v.v (Couldn´t resist to mention this, although it´s a topic for other blogs of course)

¹  this postcard was forwarded to me in February 2011 by Bastiaan van der Velde, thanks a lot!

first published May 2009, last revised August 2018

Pierre Dange
Palais Artistique
(formerly) Rogny-les-sept-écluses, dept Yonne, region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France
site doesn't exist anymore


  1. just thought I'd say hello!.. I find your world fascinating! It's refreshing to be shown things that are beautiful in their obscurity... Thank you!-)

  2. Thanks, the are so right---there can be much beauty (and happiness) in obscurity- Henk

  3. Memories fade, legacy do so as well, Pierre vanished without leaving a trace? No! We people who share ages and times, share also another thing, we are accomplice with people from past and future, who give us each other the tafet again and again. Pierred may not live in books and encyclopedias, but come to life in this blog, come to life through the existence of the land in where he lived. It doesn´t matter if no body ever mention him again, we did, we met him trespassing the frontiers of centuries, we received the tafet from him, his legacy (forget about qualify or quantify it) came to life again.


  4. Hello Alberto,
    Thanks for this have a wonderful way of looking at people who lived in the past and who can come alive by the attention we pay them through our thoughts and interest...I like this approach very much.

  5. Hi Henk, that's a strange looking house... too bad it has disappeared. I wonder what happened? Nice to see the Watercats dropping in here to say Hi to you, I met them recently too, and they are very creative, very wonderful people... all best wishes, you've inspired me again to want to go see the town this house was once in...

  6. Hi Owen, I also wonder what has happened...probably we will never know.
    The construction of the seven locks (nowadays without water) can still be seen in Rogny. Merite un détour!
    Best. Henk

  7. I am on FB under the name Annie-France Pongitore if you want see my village"Rogny les sept écluses" where
    I am tourist guide and so on my blog of which you speak

  8. Bonjour Annie-France,
    Thanks for this message. And welcome to my FB page on outsider art environments in Europe as the 550th follower.
    All best !