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 Ferdinand Cheval

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Ferdinand Cheval

Birth
Departement de la Drôme, Rhône-Alpes, France
Death
19 Aug 1924 (aged 88)
Hauterives, Departement de la Drôme, Rhône-Alpes, France
Burial
Hauterives, Departement de la Drôme, Rhône-Alpes, France
Memorial ID
17387814 View Source

Postman, he spent 33 years of his life building an "Ideal Castle" which is regarded as an extraordinary example of naive art architecture.

Ferdinand Cheval lived in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the Drôme département of France. At age 13 he left school to become a baker's apprentice but eventually became a postman.

In 1879 he is said to have tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. From that day on he would return to the same spot and started collecting stones. Over the next next 33 years, during his daily mail route, Cheval carried stones from his delivery rounds and at home used them to build his Palais idéal, the Ideal Castle. First he carried the stones in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night in the light of an oil lamp. Locals regarded him as a village idiot.

Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls. The Castle is a mix of different styles with inspirations from the Bible to Hindu mythology. Cheval bricked the stones together with lime, wire and cement.

Cheval also wanted to be buried in his castle. When French authorities forbade that, he proceeded to spend eight years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hauterives.

In 1969 André Malraux, the Minister of Culture, declared the Castle as a cultural landmark and had it officially protected.

Postman, he spent 33 years of his life building an "Ideal Castle" which is regarded as an extraordinary example of naive art architecture.

Ferdinand Cheval lived in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the Drôme département of France. At age 13 he left school to become a baker's apprentice but eventually became a postman.

In 1879 he is said to have tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. From that day on he would return to the same spot and started collecting stones. Over the next next 33 years, during his daily mail route, Cheval carried stones from his delivery rounds and at home used them to build his Palais idéal, the Ideal Castle. First he carried the stones in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night in the light of an oil lamp. Locals regarded him as a village idiot.

Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls. The Castle is a mix of different styles with inspirations from the Bible to Hindu mythology. Cheval bricked the stones together with lime, wire and cement.

Cheval also wanted to be buried in his castle. When French authorities forbade that, he proceeded to spend eight years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hauterives.

In 1969 André Malraux, the Minister of Culture, declared the Castle as a cultural landmark and had it officially protected.

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