February 04, 2014

Alphonse Gurlhie, Jardin aux sculptures/Sculpture garden

Located in the community of Chandolas (Ardeche area, France) where the D 208 meets the D 104, a permanent open air exhibition of sculptures features Alphonse Gurlhie.

Life and works

Alphonse Gurlhie (1862-1944) was born in Chandolas. His mother died when he was six years old and he soon learned how to stand for himself. He loved to roam in the rocky area of the region and became an expert in hunting and fishing.

At age sixty-one, in 1923, he began making sculptures from reinforced concrete  mainly depicting animals in a naive style, such as beavers, otters, foxes, snakes, birds.....

Gurlhie has continued making sculptures for some twenty years, and altogether he has produced some thirty creations, which he displayed in the garden around his houses in Beauchastel and Chandolas.

Gurlhie has been buried at the cemetery in Chandolas in a tomb he himself had created, kind of a neolithic dolmen made from iron and concrete (I couldn't find a picture on the internet)

Not taken very seriously in his time, Gurlhie nowadays is seen as a precursor of art brut.

His artistic legacy for a large part has been saved, currently owned both by  the community of Chandolas and by private persons and a local company.

When in 2012 the community of Chandolas, in connection with the union of communities in the region, took the initiative to create an exhibition ground for its collection of Gurlhie's sculptures, the private parties joined this initiative and so an open air exhibition of  Gurlhie's creations was realized.

The site is located not far from where Gurlhie originally lived in Maisonneuve and where he had his sculpture garden.

* Ivan Tzikuniv & Yves Luxerau, Gurlhie, l'homme, l'artiste, l'art brut. Le phénomène connu à la ronde, de Chandolas à Beauchastel. Lagorce (Eds du Chassel), 2013. - 155 p

Alphonse Gurlhie
Exhibition of his sculptures (Sculpture garden)
Chandolas, Cévennes d'Ardèche, France
can be visited freely

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