Lucien Favreau, “La maison la bohème” (“The Bohemian house”)

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About the Artist/Site

Lucien Favreau, a mason and plasterer, lived in the small community of Yviers in the Charente area of France. In 1963 he decided to create an ornamented tomb for his beloved dog, and after this first construction, he continued creating concrete sculptures for the  rest of his life. They were exhibited in the garden near his home.

The numerous sculptures represented many well-known public personalities, including famous French soccer players, singers, actors, politicians, and generals, but also characters such as Scrooge McDuck (known as Picsou in French). He also paid homage to more personal figures, such as with the construction of a tomb in memory of his father, who died in World War I on the battle fields of northeastern France; the inscription reads Verdun. There is some decoration with glass bottles and other found objects, but the works are primarily unpainted concrete.

Lucien Favreau also made fresco decorations on the exterior walls of his house depicting members of his family, animals, rural scenes, and more. There also is a portrait of the postman Ferdinand Cheval (creator of the famous French art environment Palais Idéal), with an inscription that reads, My friend, my dog / my master, Cheval.

The interior walls have also been decorated with a rather perplexing range of portraits, including Goya, Hitler, and the Mona Lisa holding Favreau’s dog, and a large fresco memorializing the victims of the Treblinka concentration camp; the ceiling displays a big octopus.

After Favreau died in 1990, members of the family who still live in the house began to care for the sculpture garden. The general public is welcome to visit the sculpture garden, located along a public road with easy access.

~Henk van Es


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