October 20, 2023

Frédéric Paranthoën, Sculptures dans et à proximité de la maison / Sculptures in and near the house

this photo and the next three (1981) courtesy of Francis David 
as on the website Habitants-Paysagistes, Lille Art Museum

The image above takes us back to the 1980s, when the scene shown could be seen in Royan, a municipality in France, located on the right side of the Gironde River, where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Life and works

The sculptures, that reside so casually on the lawn, were created by Frédéric Paranthoën (1902-1983) and were part of an art environment that for a large part also was displayed in Paranthen's house, located near the lawn.

This art environment has now disappeared and it is unclear whether there are any remains anywhere.

Paranthoën initially became a professional sailor, active in many countries around the world. Later he worked in sea fishing until his retirement in the mid-1960s.

As often happens with retirees, he now had time to focus on a hobby, which for him meant being actively involved in the creative field. He first focused on making small, often light-footed sculptures, made from all kinds of materials. 

After some time he had produced about 400 creations, which were placed on various spots in his house.

Now that Paranthoën had found his purpose in making sculptures, he moved on to making larger creations from cement. As the image above shows, for this purpose Paranthoën had a well-equipped studio at his disposal.

He mainly created animals, such as small deer, chimpanzees, snakes, wild animals, antelopes, dogs and cats, but he also ventured into portraying women.

Although his house had a small garden, it does not appear that Paranthoën has provided it with a permanent display of sculptures. The lawn filled with sculptures in the first two images, looks like a public space, temporarily equipped with sculptures in 1981 for the purpose of making photos.

Paranthoën apparently preferred to keep his sculptures in indoor spaces.

The image below gives an impression of such an arrangement of sculptures indoors, perhaps in the garage belonging to the house. We see a large number sculptures of animals, and on the right some representations of ladies.

Paranthoën died in 1993 and it is now clear that his collection of sculptures no longer exists. The internet has no sources to tell what happened to them.

* Entry about Paranthoën on the website Habitants-Paysagistes (Lille Art Museum), with photographs by Francis David
* Remarks about Paranthoën on the weblog of Bruno Montpied (In his book Les gazouillis des Éléphants, Paris, 2017, Montpied has devoted an article to this non-professional artist) 

Frédéric Paranthoën
Sculptures in and near the house
Avenue du Maréchal Leclerc
Royan, dept Charente-Maritime, region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France 
site doesn't exist anymore

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