Remarkable naive architecture of postman Ferdrand Cheval, who created a masterpiece from stones!
The snail mail is a thing of the past. Very few from this generation even remember postmen for their tedious effort to take posts to even remote locations. But there have always been men who have been remembered for something unique they have done in their lifetime. An example of this fact is Ferdrand Cheval who is still remembered by the world for creating the unique palace that is a masterpiece in naïve architecture. Now that is what is called a memorable thing.
1 Background of Ferdrand Cheval
Looking at the background of Ferdrand Cheval, it may seem difficult to believe that this man could actually create something that is so distinct. Ferdrand Cheval was a French postman who was born in 1836 in France. He was a simple postman who struggled like several other postmen to deliver posts to remote locations.
He didn’t start of his career as a postman. In fact, he dropped off from school at a young age of just 13 years. He then joined a baker’s shop as apprentice. However, eventually he became a postman who delivered posts to remote locations of France.
2 How this Postman Got Interested In Architecture?
Yes, he was a simple postman but that is not what he is known for. He is actually known for his naïve architecture. It is referred to as naïve architecture because he is not professionally trained in architecture. Ferdrand was a creative person and he revealed a good show of creativity through this impressive palace made just out of stones he picked on his route while delivering posts. And the best part is that it took him 33 years to complete this fabulous architecture. This definitely means he was a patient man too.
3 How Postman Cheval Made These Unique Creations?
As a young postman, when Ferdrand was on rounds to deliver post, he stumbled on a stone of a unique shape. While he imagined himself designing a palace or a cave or some distinct architectural structure, he never dared to reveal it because he feared ridicule. But in April 1879, a similar thing happened and he was reminded of his dream again. This time he took his dreams seriously and starting building this unique piece of art slowly and steadily.
Cheval used lime, mortar and cement to bind the stones together to create this unique monument. The Palais is not inspired from one monument or one religion. You may say it is a combination of works in different religions and different regions. He started off by filling stones in his pockets and later used a basket. Eventually he had to use a wheelbarrow to carry the stones. It took him 20 years to construct the walls of Le Palais alone. He even worked at night relying on the light from the oil lamp.
4 Recognition Received By Him For His Unique Masterpiece
While he was barely noticed for his impeccable creation when he was alive, he did receive recognition for his work in the later years. Pablo Picasso and Andre Breton were some of the luminaries who recognised his works. Annais Nin commemorated his work in an essay. A collage titled ‘The Postman Cheval’ was created by Max Ernst in the year 1932. Ado Kyrou made a film ‘Le Palais Ideal’ in the year 1958. The Minister of Culture declared Palais as a cultural Landmark in the year 1969. Cheval was also put on the postal stamp in the year 1986 in France.
5 His Burial
Initially, Ferdrand Cheval had requested that he be buried in Le Palais but this wasn’t legal in France then. So Cheval started making a mausoleum in Hauterives cemetery spending 8 valuable years. He died just after the creation of this mausoleum and is buried there as per his wish. This is a postman who has become eternal to the world because of his unique architectural creation