January 27, 2016

Vivi Fortin, Jardin aux sculptures / Sculpture garden

pictures courtesy of Vivi Fortin, from his weblog

On Vivi's weblog the caption of above picture reads Que du beau monde sur le sentier pédestre (Such beautiful people on the footpath).

Indeed, these pedestrians look very nice, but this also goes for the sculptures as such, which emanate a special charm.

Life and works

Vivi Fortin, who made these sculptures, was born in November 1953 (Actually his first name is Yves, but he prefers to be called Vivi). He currently lives in the small hamlet named le Pas Français, which belongs to the community La Flocellière, located in the Pays de la Loire area in France. His house has a large garden of some 5000 square meters (0.5 ha).

After primary school he went to work. He became a mason and tyler, a profession he has practiced for some forty years.

In the spring of 2011 he got such troubles with his back, that he had to stop working.

sur les chemins de l’école au Kenya
(on the way to school in Kenya)

Not being a man to sit quietly on the couch, Fortin looked for something to do, and although he had no artistic education at all, he first tried his hand on making paintings, to switch after some months to making sculptures, which would become his great passion.

As he told a regional newspaper in 2014: During my professional life I did not invent anything. Now I want to go on creating and performing, just to bring joy on people's faces.

entente cordiale¹ la chasse à courre n'aura pas lieu
(entente cordiale¹ the hunt with hounds will not take place)

Fortin is a prolific worker. When interviewed in 2014 he already had created some 300 sculptures. In 2016 he had made about 500 works and currently (2022) the number is around 900.

He makes ensembles, as can be seen in the pictures above, but also stand alone sculptures, as can be seen in the picture below.

the French painter Claude Monet

Most sculptures of animals and people are not very large, about 30 to 50 cm high (except giraffes or so) and the whole collection of sculptures is more or less on scale.

Fortin began his sculpting adventure by making animals, mainly those from the farm and other well known ones, later he also portrayed famous personalities and characters from strip books.

Lucky Luke, the Daltons and Vivi

In creating a sculpture Fortin first makes a model from iron- or chicken wire which he plasters with a layer of cement that he models with hands and fingers. All sculptures are painted in appropriate colors with a specific paint, with a composition he strictly keeps secret.

The creations populate the large garden, but also find a place on the courtyard of the house, occasionally displayed on table plates.

Currently Vivi Fortin is still active in making new sculptures. Here are some examples of recent creations (pictures from Vivi Fortin's account on Facebook):

November 2016: a scene inspired by a fable by La Fontaine

March 2017: a scene inspired by Melkmeisje (Milk girl), a painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer

June 2017: a scene with whirling dervishes

in February 2019 a scene with  "yellow vests" (gilets-jaunes, a recent protest movement in France)

and in 2020 a scene of a cozy chickens family.

In 2021 Vivi Fortin began decorating a wall of his property with sculptures in high-relief, like below portraits of Simone Weil (1909-1943) and Jean-Paul Belmondo, who passed away early September 2021.

This project was continued in 2022, the image below showing the development until March of that year.

* Fortin's weblog Sculpturedupas
* Article (August 2014) in regional newspaper Ouest-France
* Article (January 2016) on Jean-Louis Bigou's weblog
* Entries about Vivi Fortin on Sophie Lepetit's weblog (9 entries, 2016-2022)
* A review (May 2, 2019) of Fortin's artwork by Bruno Montpied on his weblog
* Article by Jean-Marie Poirier (March 2022) on website Pose Vagabonde
* Article about the site by Sonia Terhzaz on her website Cartographie des Rocamberlus (environments d'art singulier), reporting the visit she paid in May 2020 and January 2023

* Early January 2023 Guy Tarbass added two short videos to YouTube with scenes of Vivi Fortin's creations.  Here is part 1:


here is part 2:

and there also is a part 3

* Video by Yadid Borjas (1'50", YouTube, February 2016)

¹  entente cordiale: a series of agreements in 1904 between France and the UK which marked the end of some 1000 years of conflict between these states

Vivi Fortin
Jardin aux sculptures
lieu-dit le Pas Français
85700 La Flocellière, Sèvremont, dept Vendée, region Pays de la Loire, France
visits in the afternoons, when the artist is at home
see his weblog to make an appointment

first published January 2016, last revised April 2023


  1. Уважаемый Хенк СПАСИБО!

  2. Очень очаровательный, эта работа

    1. Merci pour ce bel article, très documenté, c'est très agréable de vous lire.
      A bientôt pour d'autres œuvres