This page has an overview of the in my opinion most interesting publications about art environments in Europe. So this is a selected bibliography. And it's also an annotated one.
By arranging the publications in chronological order and adding comments I like to show in which way European art environments over the years have been discussed and how the discussion gradually extended from France to other countries.
R. Brooks Popham, Hither and Thither, London (W.J. Ham-Smith), 1912, on pp 285-288 "The hermit of Rothéneuf"
Noguette (=Eugène Herpin), La vie de l'Ermite de Rothéneuf, Saint-Malo (Imprimerie R. Bazin), 1919.
These in the eyes of the contemporary reader somewhat curious publications, dating from the beginning of the twentieth century, deal with Abbé Fouré's sculpted rocks. Rather anecdotical in their approach, they give a good idea of the argumentation of former authors.
Gilles Ehrmann, Les inspirés et leurs demeures (The inspired and their abodes),Paris (Ed. Le Temps), 1962, -170 p, 85 photo's
This french photobook with a preface by André Breton, marks the beginning of contemporary interest in art environments.
Gilles Ehrmann was a french potographer who contributed to illustrated magazines. His book is one of the first french publications with photographic impressions of art environments.
The book has portraits of Gaston Chaissac, Fréderic Séron, Hyppolite Massé, Raymond Isidore (=Picassiette) and Joseph Marmin. It also has images of Facteurs Cheval's Palais Idéal, Abbé Fouré's Sculpted Rocks and the Bomarzo garden in Italy.
Bernard Lassus, Jardins Imaginaires.Les habitants-paysagistes. Paris (Presse de la Connaissance), 1977 -191 p.
In the 1960's French garden-architect Bernard Lassus (b. 1929) became interested in the way residents in (new) urban areas embellished the balconies and/or gardens of their houses ("habitants-paysagistes"), a phenomenon he studied around Paris and Marseille, but also in the Pas-de-Calais area in northern France. Here he met Charles Pecqueur, who as mayor of Ruitz embellished his community with artwork he created himself.
Lassus' book Jardins imaginaires summarizes the findings of his study and makes these available to the general public. His work is an early manifestation of scholarly interest in art environments.
In 1978 Lassus would help prepare the exposition Les singuliers de l'art in the Musée de l'art moderne de la ville de Paris, probably the first exhibition that introduced art environments to the general (french) public. In my blog Lassus is mentioned in relation with Marcel Landreau and François Portrat.
Claude and Clovis Prévost, Raymond Isidore, dit Picassiette, de Chartres, Paris(Ed du Chène),1978 -75 p.
Clovis Prévost (b. 1940) studied architecture, but for his professional career he turned to film and photography. Together with his wife Claude he has done a lot to document the art environments. The Maison Picassiette in Chartres was one of the first he presented.
Jacques Verroust (photos)and Jacques Lacarrière (texts), Les inspirés du bord des routes, Paris (Ed du Seuil), 1978
This book presents french art environments created by Marcel Landreau, Robert Vasseur, Raymond Isidore (=Picassiette), Marcel Dhièvre, Facteur Cheval and Euclide da Costa Ferrera.
Maarten Kloos, Le paradis terrestre de Picasiette, Paris (Encre), 1979 -107 p, 50 ill (B/W)
Another monographic study of Raymond Isidore (=Picassiette), this one written by a dutchman who for a time stayed in Paris to study architecture.
Francis David, Guide de l'art insolite: Nord/Pas de Calais, Picardie. Paris (Herscher), 1984 -93 p, ill.
A guide to 37 extraordinary houses and gardens in northern France, including the art environments of Arthur Vanabelle, Léon Évangélaire, Jean-Baptiste Bouriéz and monsieur Goldoni
Raw Vision: international journal of outsider art, visionary art, contemporary folk art
In 1989 the magazine Raw Visison was published for the first time. It would become the leading international periodical in the field of outsider art.
It is interesting to see which European art environments received attention in the first forty editions of the magazine, a period from 1989 till 2002.
In the first isssues France prevailed: Pierre Avazard (#1), Chomo (#2), Charles Billy (#3), facteur Cheval (#4), Danielle Jacqui (#5), then in #6 (1992) Marcello Cammi (Italy) appeared, joined by René Raoult (France), followed by Abbé Fouré (#7) and Bodan Litnianski (#9). Then in #12 (1995) the UK couple Bill and Elisbeth Charge was presented, followed by Robert le Lagadec (#13) and Jean Linard (#14) from France.
In subsequent issues attention was paid to Ben Wilson from the UK (#21, 1997), Filippo Bentivegna from Italy (#22, 1998), Robert Garcet from Belgium (#24, 1998), the Luna Rossa garden in France (#26, 1999), Chomo in memoriam (France) and Niki de Saint Phalle (Italy) (#28, 1999), Colin Soudin/Jon Morgan (from Jersey) in relation with John Fairnington and George Howard, both from the UK (#29, 1999/2000), Isidore (=Picassiette) (#30, 2000), Robert Tatin (#32, 2001) and facteur Cheval (#38), all from France, In 2002 (#40) for the first time an art environment from Spain was introduced: Josep Pujiula i Vila.
It's clear that in the first forty issues of Raw Vision from 1989 till around 2002, french art environments got most attention. This is not surprising, since France is the country of Jean Dubuffet who coined the term art brut, the phenomenon of art environments is fairly prevalent in France and there are also interested people in this country who like to write about these sites. Only later, around 2011, it would become apparent that also in European countries such as Italy, Spain and Finland art environments are an interesting phenomenon and that these countries can boast very special creations.
In 2004 Raw Vision had its first articles about Finnish art environments (by Veli Granö) and Finnish ITE-art in general (by Elina Vuorimies).
Claude and Clovis Prévost, Les bâtisseurs de l'imaginaire, Jarville-la Margrange (Ed de l'Est), 1990, -275 p.
This publication is one of the classics in France about art environments. As said above, Claude and Clovis Prévost made photo's and films of these sites. This documentary material has been displayed on a variety of expositions in France and has also been included in the book, all presented under the umbrella title Les bâtisseurs de l'imaginaire (Builders of the imaginary).
In 2016 the book was republished in a revised, enlarged edition (420 pages, 595 photographs)
In terms of art environments that are presented, the latest edition in general is comparable to the original one. The current edition includes the following sites: Facteur Cheval, Le Palais Idéal; Abbé Fouré, Les rochers de Rothéneuf; Monsieur G. Le sanctuaire des lasers; Marcel Landreau, Le village natal;.Raymond Isidore, Maison Picassiette; Fernand Châtelain, Bonjour aux visiteurs; Camille Vidal, L’arche de Noé; Irial Vets, La chapelle Sixtine; Robert Garcet, La Tour d’Eben Ezer; Roger Chomo, Le village d’art préludien; Robert Tatin, Les signes de l’homme: Robert Vasseur, La Maison aux papillons; Guy Brunet, l’Age d’or du cinéma; Roger Rousseau, Le Causse en sous-sol.
With the 1990 edition of their book the Prévost couple had a great influence on the names of French art environments.
Claude Arz, La France insolite, Paris, (Hachette), 1990 -195 p.
Claude Arz is known in France as an author who travels around the country to discover its unknown aspects. This publication, which had many reprints, has contributed to the dissemination of information about art environments in France.
In my blog I have a quote from an interview he had with René Raoult, who created l'Église verte (the green church), a quote that might be rather characteristic of Raoult's views.
Olivier Thiébaut, Bonjour aux promeneurs. Sur les chemins de l'art brut, Paris (Ed. Alternatives), 1996 -131 p, ill.
Olivier Thiébaut (b. 1963) studied at the art school in Caen and became a scenariowriter and author. In 1996 he not only published above book but -asisted by a group of volunteers- he founded the private garden museum of la Lune Rossa in Caen, which displays works from outsider artists and items from art environments (included sites that meanwhile have disappeared).
Thiébaut's book documents the works of Euclide da Costa Ferrera, Fernand Chatelain, Henri Chéné, Louis Tourquetil, Raymond Macé, André Hardy, Robert Vasseur, Emile Taugourdeau, Jean Clérembeaux, Auguste Le Boulch, Arsène Enouf, Eugène Firek, Gabriel Albert, Bodan Litnianski, Joseph et Paulette Alberca, Arthur Vanabelle and Séraphin Enrico
Michel Ragon, Du côté de l'art brut. Paris (Albin Michel), 1996 -159 p.
John Maizels, Raw creation: outsider art and beyond. London (Phaidon press), 1996. 240 p.
These two richly illustrated books, published in 1996, mark the rising interest in the western world in outsider art, which gave rise to publish beautifully designed books for the general public.
Ragon, who always was interested in marginality in society, focuses upon a french public. He describes how in France interest in art brut developed, paying special attention to Gaston Chaissac and art environments, which he referred to as Anarchitectures. In the chapter about these anarchitectures he departs from the three french classics Facteur Cheval, Abbé Fouré and Raymond Isidore (Picassiette), adding other creators, which we currently see as belonging as well to the french classics, such as Fernand Chatelain, Pierre Avezard, François Portrat, Marcel Landreau, Charles Pecqueur and Chomo.
Juan Antonio Ramirez (Ed), Escultecturas margivagantes: la arquitectura fantástica en España, Madrid (Siruela), 2006.
This book about fantastic architecture, edited by Spanish architect Juan Antonio Ramirez is an early example of rising interest in art environments in countries outside of France.
Departing from an architectural point of view it has articles about builders such as Salaguti, Justo Gallego Martinez, Federico Diaz Falcon, Jacinto Garcia, Francisco González Grajera and Antonio Aguilera Rueda, but it also pays attention to sculpture gardens and other art environments such as those made by Máximo Rojo, Longino Ayuso, Josep Pujiula y Vila, Manfred Gnädinger, Francisco del Rio Cuenca, José Ramòn Gallego Rebollar and Nicolás Cabrisas Gili.
Veli Granö, Veijo Rönkkösen todellinen elämä (The real life of Veijo Rönkkönen(, Maahenki, 2007 -170 p ill
A book in Finnish by photographer Veli Granö about Veijo Rönkkönen's and his art environment, at that time not very well known outside Finland (abstract in english).
Eva di Stefano, Irregolari. Art brut e outsider in Sicilia. Palermo (Ed. d'arte Kalós), 2008 -200 p
This book marks the rising of scientific interest in Italy in the phenomenon of outsider art. In the same year the Osservatorio Outsider Art a research group guided by di Stephano was established at the University of Palermo. The publication Irregolari presents some 8 outsider artists in Sicily, among whom the creators of art environments Giovanni Cammarata and Filippo Bentivegna
Bettina Rudhof, Building as in a dream, the Junkerhaus in Lemgo, 2010 -143 p
This is one of a number of publications about Karl Junker that recently have appeared (this text is available on the internet in german and in english).
Junker (1850-1912) who had a professional training as a visual artist, is known because of the house he single-handedly constructed and decorated in Lemgo, Germany. He was not accepted as an artist by the then german art world and outside of Germany he was seen as an outsider artist.
Contemporary german authors rate Junker's creation as a Gesamtkunstwerk and the author of above publication argues that the artwork stands in a tradition that reaches back to the artist's houses of the Renaissance and has links with the Arts and Craft movement and Jugendstil.
Seen this way, the Junker House could rank as an art environment, but not as the creation of an outsider artist.
Minna Haveri, Nykykansantaide (Modern Folk Art), Maahenki, 2010 -272 p. ill
This book is the doctoral dissertation of Finnish art historian Minna Haveri which she defended may 2010. In her study she tries to disclose the features and characteristics of contemporary folk art expression in Finland. She notices that contemporary folk art has abandoned the collective nature and traditionalism of traditional folk art and has been replaced by individualistic artistry and original creativity. Contemporary folk art is rustic visual art, based on skill and creativity (abstract in english)
This study is a first manifestation of a scholarly art historical approach of the phenomenon of art environments in a European country.
Seppo Knuuttila(ed), ITE Art in Finland. Maahenki, 2011 -120 p
This richly illustrated book is the first publication in English that introduces Finnish ITE art to a wide audience. In the years before 2011 in Finland interest in outsider art and art environments had greatly increased and Raw Vision in 2004 had articles about Finland, but due to the language barrier these developments remained in general rather unnoticed outside Finland.
ITE is an abbreviation of itse tehty elämä (self-made life, or do-it-yourself), an expression often used in Finland to denote outsider art, or contemporary folk art (a term also rather often used in Finland.
The book presents 24 outsider artists including Veijo Rönkönen, Edvin Hevonkoski, Elis Sinistö, Tapio Autio, Alpo Koivumäki, Niilo Rytkönen, Aune Kinnunen, Olavi Laiho, Eero Leinonen, Ilmari Salminen, Vainö Oja and Marti Hömppi who are known by the art environments they created.
Gabriele Mina (ed), Costruttori di Babele. Sulle tracce di architecture fantastische universi irregulari in Italia (Builders of Babel, on the trace of the architecture of fantastic irregular uiverses in Italy), Milano (Elèuthera), 2011 -200 p ill
Also in the year 2011 Gabriele Mina edited a book about Italian art environments, also an early bird covering a hitherto unexplored area. A year earlier Mina had begun a website that introduced a nationwide project Builders of Babel focused upon inventory and documenting Italian art environments.
The book has articles about art environments made by Mario Andreoli, Orfeo Bartolucci, Maurizio Becherini, Filippo Bentivegna, Umberto Bonini, Vincent Maria Brunetti, Giovanni Cammarata, Marcello Cammi, Enrico Capra, Guerino Galzerano, Ettore Guatelli, Israele, Ezechiele Leandro, Luigi Lineri, Bonaria Manca, Oreste Fernando Nannetti, Attilio Penzo, Fiorenzo Pilia, Gilio Rancilio, Giacomo Rebecchi and Angelo Stagnaro.
Bruno Montpied, Eloge des jardins anarchiques. Montreuil-sur-Bois (Ed.l'Insomniaque), 2011 -224p, ill., DVD
The year 2011 was a fruitful year in terms of books about art environments. That year also saw the publication of Bruno Montpied's book. Montpied has done a lot in respect of disseminating information and opinion about art brut and art environments in France, initially by publishing articles in various magazines, later by authoring the weblog le Poignard subtil.
The book includes a number of (partly re-edited) articles published by the author in previous years and also a number of new texts.
Among the first category are texts about François Michaud, Raymond Guitet, Jean Prosper Gillis, Gabriel Albert, Abbé Fouré, Fernand Chatelain, Maurice Lellouche, Charles Billy, Martial Besse and father and son Ludovic and René Montégudet.
Among the second category are texts about Joseph Donadello, Pierre and Yvette Darcel, Bohdan Litnianski and Émile Taugourdeau, while to this category also belong shorter notes about the sites of Arthur Vanabelle, Concette and Michèle Sasssano, Joseph Meyer, André Hardy, Robert Vasseur, André Gourlet, André M., Alexis le Breton and Madame C., which were visited in the making of a film by Rémy Ricordeau Bricoleurs de Paradis (2011, 52')
Hans-Ulrich Schlumpf, Rekonstruktion eines Universes, Zürich (Ed Patrick Frey), 2011. -400 p, ill. 460 b/w and colored pictures
It is not unusual that after the death of its creator an art environment is demolished by the inheritors of the property. This was also the case with Armand Schulthess' Garten des Wissens (Auressio, Switzerland)
The book has pictures of items the author could save from destruction and of the site as photographed by him at occasional visits he paid to Schulthess.
Joëlle Jouneau, l'Ermite de Rothéneuf. L'esprit du lieu. Paris (Nouuvelles Éditions Scala), 2013. -64 p. ill
Joëlle Jouneau is the president of an association of friends of the works of Fouré, founded in 2010. Her publication not only contributes to the inventory of Fouré's oeuvre, it also marks the contemporary approach to demystify the various legends that have been woven around Fouré's life and work. It underlines the merits of a factual approach when researching art environments.
Pavel Konečný, Pietro Moschini. A Man of Many Faces. Olomouc,2013. -100 p, ill (texts in english, italian and czech)
Sometimes art environments remain unnoticed for many years. Until at a time it happens they are "discovered". So it happened that Pavel Konečný. a collector of outsider art from the Czech Republic, saw pictures on the internet which intrigued him. Further investigation led to public awareness of the work of Pietro Moschini whose house in Tuscania, Italy, now is a casa-museo.
The book has the story of Moschini's life and work, with a wealth of pictures. It is self-published edition, available by mailing the author.
Jo Farb Hernandez, Singular Spaces. From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments. Published by Raw Vision
This book is the best example of what a scholarly publication about art environments should look like. In 595 pages and 1306 color photo's Farb Hernandez documents, describes and analyzes over forty art environments in Spain.
The study covers the following artists: Francisco del Río Cuenca, Josédel Val Río, Serafín Villarán, Jorge Juan Maldonado Díaz /Eulogio Reguillo Extremera, Tomás Daviu Carreras, Josep Sala Prat, José María Garrido, Joaquim Gifreu i Riera, Félix Sanperiz Gistau, Máximo Rojo, Jacinto García, Salvador Sala Esquius, Lino BuenoUtrilla, José Foncillas Ribera, Vicente Mateo Domínguez Pérez, RaúlViqueira, Xicu Cabanyes, Diego López Martínez, Justo Gallego Martínez, José Domínguez Carbajo, Longino Ayuso Illán, Manuel PalomaresFélix, Juan María García Naveira, José Prades, Hans Schnitzler, Julio Basanta López, Antoni Macià Cassany, Manuel Fulleda Alcaraz, Peter Buch, Cesareo Gimeno Martín, José Giralt, Acacio Mateo Pérez Castejón, Emilio Pérez García, Manuel Garrido Villalba, Virgilio González Antón, Joan Sala Fàbrega, Francisco González Gragera, Josep Jordà i Olivé, José Ramón Gallego Rebollar, Manfred Gnädinger, Antonio Aguilera Rueda, Francisco Subirà i Bertran, Julio Herrero Guisado, Blas GarcíaCamacho, Josep Pujiula i Vila
Laurent Danchin, Aux frontières de l'art brut. Un parcours dans l'art des marges. Paris (Lelivredart), 2013. -639 p
In this book Laurent Danchin who has authored many publications about art brut and who is the french editor of Raw Vision, has collected the various articles he wrote in previous years. In the field of art environments Danchin is known because of his special relation with Chomo and Pierre Avezard's Manège (currently in the Fabuloserie), but the book also has articles about Fernand Chatelain, Euclides da Costa Ferreira and Marcel Dhièvre
Pavel Konečný and Roberta Trapani (Eds), Bonaria Manca. Rinascere ogni giorno. (Marginàlie, 2014), with contributions by Jean-Marie Drot, Claire Margat, Gabriele Mina, Daniela Rosi e Roberta Trapani.
Giada Carraro, La casa delle girandolle, L'arte cinetica di un poeta astronomo veneziano. Roma (Ed Linaria), 2014.
These two Italian publications are monographs, discussing life and work of Italian creators of art environments Bonaria Manca and Donato Zangrossi. As shown in above bibliography a lot of books about art environments are rather comprehensive, presenting an overview of a number of artists, in the form of a annotated photo book, a "travel guide" or (more recently) a scholarly analysis.
The bibliography shows that in the course of the years monographs have been published too, such as about Raymond Isidore, Abbé Fouré, Schulthess, Karl Junker and Veijo Rönkkönen. Then there are creators of art environments who got relatively much publicity, especially in articles in magazines and newspapers, such as Facteur Cheval (not included in above selected bibliography).
It remains to be seen if above two Italian monographs mark a new episode in publishing about art environments, i.e. the appearance of monographs with a relatively thorough review of individual outsider artists and the art environments they made.
Graciela García, Arte outsider. La pulsión creativa desnudo. Barcelona (Sans soleil), 2015 -330 p. ill
This book, subtitled "the creative drive uncovered" is the public edition of Graciela García's doctoral thesis (2010). She is the author of the weblog "El Hombre Jazmín", where she discusses spanish and international developments in the field of outsider art.
In her book Garciá analyzes the creative process in outsider art, approaching this theme by discussing a variety of modes of artistic operation as applied by various outsider artists. Such modes of operation may include "recycling and accumulation" (with examples such as Karl Junker, Máximo Rojo, Justo Gallego and Francisco del Rio Cuenca) or "micro-universes and marvelous machines" (with examples such as Franz Gsellmann, Gerard van Lankveld and Pierre Avezard).
The examples I selected above mainly relate to artists who made art environments, but obviously Graciela Garcia discusses many outsider artists who work in other ways, both from Europe and the U.S., as from other countries.
Le Service du Patrimoine Culturel de la région Nord-Pas de Calais, D'Étonnants Jardins en Nord-Pas de Calais. Inventaire général du patrimoine culturel (Images du Patrimoine, 293). Lyon (Ed. Lieux-Dits), 2015.
This is an interesting and informative publication. For all I know it is the first time a number of art environments is presented in the context of the social and cultural characteristic of a particular region. And, especially now that the mining area in northern France in 2012 was added to UNESCO's world heritage list, it is an excellent initiative to highlight the cultural contribution made by self-taught artists, and capture in pictures and texts their vulnerable creations that seldom can withstand the test of time.
The post about this book in my weblog has a rather detailed presentation of this publication
Roberta Trapani, Patrimoines irréguliers en France et en Italie. Origines, artification, regard contemporain" (Irregular heritages in France and Italy. Origins, artification, contemporary view), 2016.On june 26, 2016 art historian Roberta Trapani defended her doctoral thesis at the National Institute of Art History in Paris. In this thesis she examines in all its aspects the slow process of "artification" in this field, the related various designations, its relation with basic concepts such as art, architecture, etc., to conclude with a proposal to return to the origins of this form of human expression.
Up to now the thesis has not been published in a commercial edition. The abstract (in english and in french) can be found on OEE texts.
In 2016 the French classic Claude and Clovis Prévost, Les bâtisseurs de l'imaginaire (1990) was republished. See the referral to this book for the year 1990.
Pavel Konečný & Šimon Kadlčák, Atlas spontánního umění (Atlas of spontaneous art), Prague, 2016 (ISBN 978-80-906599-1-9). -272 p
This book is an inventory and documentation of creations of over twenty outsider artists, including those who became known from the art environments they created, such as Maxmilián Appeltauer, Františka Blechová, František Jaich, Vojtěch Kopic, Václav Levý, Josef Mach, Vincenc Navrátil and Stanislav Rolínek
More about this book (which has texts in Czech and in English) at the site of the Artmap bookstore:
Benoît Jaïn, Pierre Jaïn. Un hérétique chez les "bruts". Kerlaz (YIL Editions), 2017. -115 p
This richly illustrated monograph is about the up to now rather unknown outsider artist from Brittany, France, Pierre Jaïn, who in the 1950's and 60's created a large number of wooden and granite sculptures, which he for a limited part also displayed in the garden around his house. Except for some granite sculptures his art environment doesn't exist anymore. This book is an example of a successful attempt to deal with a rather unknown self taught artist.
Bruno Montpied,Le Gazouillis des éléphants(The chirping of the elephants). Paris (Éditions du Sandre), 2017. -936 p., ill
This voluminous book, in France the first of its kind, describes some 305 folk art environments in France. It's subtitle reads:
Tentative d’inventaire général des environnements spontanés et chimériques, créés en France par des autodidactes populaires, bruts, naïfs, excentriques, loufoques, brindezingues, ou tout simplement inventifs, passés, présents et en devenir, en plein air ou sous terre (quelquefois en intérieur), pour le plaisir de leurs auteurs et de quelques amateurs de passage which reads in English: An attempt to make a general inventory of spontaneous and imaginary environments created in France by popular, raw, naive, eccentric, comic, crazy, or simply inventive autodidacts, past, present and future, outdoors or underground (sometimes indoors), for the pleasure of their authors and some passing fans.
The book is the result of a long-standing involvement of the author with and research into the in western society in general neglected and understudied developments that have occurred on the margins of the world of the arts. From this point of view, Montpied's magnum opus is more than welcome.
However, the book is not directed upon the totality of art environments in France. The inventory is limited to self-taught artists with a naive or folk art appearance. People with an art education operating outside the mainstream art world, such as Chomo, or self-taught artists seen as more artistically oriented or who can be classified with what in France is known as art singulier (singular art), such as Danielle Jacqui, Evelyne Dantel, Caroline Dahyot, Hurfane, Catherine Moreno or Danielle Aubin are not included.
The latter is mentioned in passing on page 699 in the article about Hyppolite Massé who at life lived in the same town as Danielle Aubin. The author characterizes her as "un peu trop "leché " à mon gout" ("a little too "licked" for my taste") and "un peu plus esthétisante" ("a bit too much aestheticizing")
Of course every author about art has the right to draw his own boundaries, but it's a curious situation that self-taught artists who are downplayed as artist by the mainstream art world, can not be included in an inventory of art environments because they are too artistic.