February 19, 2010

Émile Taugourdeau, le Jardin Zoölogique/the Zoölogical Garden

pictures (around 2000) Denis Lavaud Zon'art
(Zon'art is no longer available on the internet)

Life and works

Émile Taugourdeau (1917-1989), a mason who lived in Thorée les Pins, France, in his forties had to leave his job due to an injury he had received during World War II.

Around 1954 he made an ornament decorated with mosaic to embellish his garden. This was the beginning of a lifetime activity of decorating the garden with sculptures of people and all kinds of well known animals, such as elephants, giraffes and cows.

Taugourdeau made creations for some 35 years, embellishing the site with over 300 various sculptures.

An outsider environment in decay 

Taugourdeau passed away in 1989. His widow continued to take care of the garden and around 2002 the site still could be visited.

However, in later years the garden was no longer cared for, it became overgrow with greenery, sculptures were stolen and the site fell completely in decay,

And currently (2016) René Taugourdeau also has fallen into oblivion.

Documentation/more pictures
* The Remy Ricordeau movie Bricoleurs de paradis. Le Gazouillis des Èlèphants (early 2011, 52") has scenes shot in 2010 of the site in decay, overgrown with blackberry.
* More pictures (dating from 1991 and 2002) on the art insolite website
* Some sculptures have been transferred to the Luna Rossa garden museum in Caen, (France).

first published feb 2010, revised july 2011, may 2013, nov 2014, apr 2016

Émile Taugourdeau
Jardin Zoölogique
72800 Thorée les Pins, Sarthe, FR
garden in decay, closed for the public


  1. Hi Henk ! Was away for a while, but am back now, and see that you've been very busy here... just skimmed through your posts from beginning of February that I hadn't seen... wow, you continue to dig up an incredible variety of outsider sites... don't know how you do it, but keep up the great work. I for one am enjoying immensely. All best wishes...

  2. Hi Owen, Good to hear you are back. Satisfied? I guess you had a wonderful time...Probably not so much snow as western europe had last weeks.
    I am still going strong, it's a wonderful theme, these outsider creations.
    All the best.