October 03, 2010

Léon Evangelaire, Sculpture garden (Tarzan and Jane)


this picture and the next two courtesy of Thierry Bariolle 

Above picture shows an art environment in Pont-à-Vendin, a small community in the Pas de Calais area in northern France.

Life and works

The modest garden in front of a modest house includes sculptures created by Léon Evangelaire.

Born in 1925, Evangelaire settled in 1945 in Pont-à-Vendin with the idea to find work in the mining industry, at that time the dominating industry in the north of France. 

He first had some small jobs and then he was employed by the railway service of the regional mining company, first as a switchman, later as a train driver on the line between Lens and Auchy.

Évangelaire has been working at the train service for over 33 years

In the 1970's, already in his forties,  he began making sculptures which he put on display in the small garden in front of his house. His first creations already included representations of Tarzan, an elephant and a giraffe.


In later years sculptures of other animals were added and Tarzan's companion Jane was also depicted.

In this way the garden became kind of a zoo, or maybe a jungle, featuring Tarzan with the monkey Nkima on his shoulder and Jane, who carries a monkey on her right arm.........


The scene is not what Hollywood movies would let us believe about Tarzan and Jane, but would that affect one's appreciation of Évangelaire's charming representation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' fictional characters?

Around 1998/1999 Evangelaire made his final creations, At that time he was in his seventies and moreover, the garden was too small to include more sculptures.

picture by unknown photographer

Currently (2015) the garden is still extant. It can be seen from the street.

Documentation
"Le zoo de Tarzan et Jane de Léon Évangelaire", in: Le Service du Patrimoine Culturel de la région Nord-Pas de Calais,  D'Étonnants Jardins en Nord-Pas de Calais.  Inventaire général du patrimoine culturel (Images du Patrimoine, 293). Lyon (Ed. Lieux-Dits), 2015, pp 68-73
* l'Inventaire du patrimoine culturel. Région Hauts-de-France, pictures and description

first published oct 2010, revised dec 2015

Léon Evangélaire
Sculpture garden
83 rue du Général de Gaulle
62880 Pont-à-Vendin, Pas de Calais, France
site can be seen from the street
streetview (2014)

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