June 03, 2011

Henry Brifaut, Château fantastique/Amazing castle

picture from the website Château de Callian
(not available anymore on the internet)

The castle in the community of Callian, in the Provence area in France, is private property. During the month of june 2011, it was (partly) been open to the public to visit an exposition of sculptures.

Life and works

It was the first time these sculptures, made by autodidact sculpor Henry Brifaut (1905-1995), were  presented to the general  public. 

Brifaut was born into a belgian family, which was active in public life. His father, Valentin Brifaut (1875-1963), was a lawyer, a member of parliament, active in the boy scouts movement and a convinced promotor of roman-catholic values.

Brifaut jr studied law, was leader of a boy scouts group of which the later king Baudoin was a member and in general was more attracted to the world of art than to other areas of activity and so he chose (and probably could afford) to be an autodidact sculptor.

In 1966 Henry Brifaut bought the castle in Callian, which was unhabited since 1793. The building had suffered from fire and looting and needed a lot of restoration, a project Brifaut undertook himself. He has been doing this restoration from 1966 untill 1977, while he already was in het sixties and seventies.

For the exposition the some 500 sculptures of people, animals and various creatures made by Brifaut, were integrated into the terraces and inner courts of the castle, in this way together constituting a "visionary environment", as the organizers of the exposition said on the website which promoted the exposition (not available anymore).

scene of the exterior of the castle, with some sculptures
picture from the website that promoted the exposition.

Documentation/more pictures
* pictures on the Art Insolite website
* Thierry Scaillet, Valentin et Henry Brifaut, Parcours de vie d'un père et d'un fils. Bruxelles (Ed. Event Business), 2008. -208 p

Henry Brifaut
Exposition "Bâtisseur de l'imaginaire"
Chateau de Callian
83440 Callian, dept Var, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

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