Located in the commmunity of Chandolas (Ardeche area, France) where the D 208 meets the D 104, a permanent open air exhibition of scultptures 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 alltogether 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, nowadays owned both by the coummunity 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
Exhibition of his sculptures (Sculpture garden)
Chandolas, Cévennes d'Ardèche, FR
can be visited freely