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How a Giant Pebbles Palace Turns a Man’s Life Into a Work of Art

Regia Marinho
Aug 13 · 4 min read

It shows persistence and passion. And it’s very curious construction work.

Energy and persistence conquer all things. Benjamin Franklin.

You have not seen this giant palace made of pebbles. Or did you see?

Once upon a time a French mailman collected pebbles for 33 Years and builds a giant palace for himself.

The Palais idéal

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Details on walls include animals such as octopuses, caimans, camels, elephants, pelicans, bears, and birds, as well as giants, fairies, and mythological figures from all over the world.

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Details. Ideal Palace.
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Details. Ideal Palace.

Ferdinand Cheval, 19 April 1836–19 August 1924, was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais idéal, the “Ideal Palace”, in Hauterives. Wikipedia.

Hauterives is a commune in southeastern France.

The Palace is an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture.

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Ferdinand Cheval. Wikipedia.

Cheval began the building in April 1879 when he was 43 years old.

For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal.

He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls.

At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then in a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow.

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Types of medieval wheelbarrows.

He used materials such as stones river washed, pebbles, porous tufa and fossils of different shapes and sizes.

The decoration resembles aspects of both the Brighton Pavilion…

The Royal Pavilion is an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton. Built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV.

Also the palace look like Gaudí’s Sagrada Família in Barcelona.

And Cheval did not travel or see Gaudi’s works, although the qualities resemble those work of art.

It is possible and happen for an artist to work like another artist that he has never seen before.

I created large paintings in the 1980s, very similar to Jackson Pollock. At that time, I had never heard of him before.

He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.

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Whale oil lamp of the 18th or 19th century, iron with cotton wick.

When he finished the palace by aged 78, Cheval began work on his own tomb on the outskirts of town, which took eight years to complete.

He was buried there in 1924.

Just before his death, Cheval began to receive some recognition from André Breton, Bernard Buffet, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, Robert Doisneau, and Pablo Picasso. His work is commemorated in an essay by Anaïs Nin.

In 1932, the German artist Max Ernst created a collage titled The Postman Cheval. The collage belongs to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

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The Postman Cheval by t.

And in 1958, Ado Kyrou produced Le Palais idéal, a short film about Cheval’s palace. He was a Greek filmmaker and writer.

The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job. ~Napoleon Hill

Inspiration from a postman bag…

“Postman’s bag is always heavy because it carries the life itself: It carries all the sorrows and all the joys, all the worries and all the hopes!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

The Lesson is … When Persistence and Passion come together they make anything possible.

Thank You. Love You.

_Regia Marinho


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