Facteur Cheval’s ideal palace

Palais idéal du facteur Cheval Ideal palace of facteur Cheval

Ferdinand Cheval built the palace in the garden of his house in Hauterives, in Drôme, between 1879 and 1912. During his postman rounds, long daily walks of about thirty kilometers, he let himself go in daydreaming, he often thought of this palace, imagining every cave, every sculpture, every detail. It was when he stumbled on a stone, which he would integrate into the palace, that he had the click to start building his dream palace.

The palace is 12 meters high and 26 meters long, it is a mixture of the influences of the facteur Cheval : the nature he crosses every day, the Christian religion, and the monuments of foreign countries that he discovers through the magazines and the postcards he distributes. Indeed this period corresponds to the appearance of the postcard, born of the development of tourist travel. He assembled with lime, mortar, cement, stones that he found during his rounds. He put them aside and came back to get them later with his wheelbarrow.

He finished the construction of the palace at the age of 76, he will have spent 33 years of his life building it. He wanted to be buried in his palace, but French regulations did not allow it, so he spent the next 8 years building his tomb in the municipal cemetery. He will die at the age of 88.

The palace is considered as a world reference of art brut, or naive art, in particular thanks to the intermediary of André Malraux who will make the palace a historical monument in 1969.


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