Ferdinand Cheval was on the surface at least, an unremarkable provincial postman. Then one day, he stumbled over an errant stone. On further investigation, Cheval decides that the offending stone is in fact rather beautiful and decides to keep it. This act was the start of a peculiar obsession and for days, weeks and months afterwards he would fill his uniform pockets with these curious stones and take them home.
When his wife complained about his worn out pockets, he begun to fill baskets which were soon upgraded to a wheelbarrow. But all these stones that he was unburdening into his back garden were not enough to satiate his passion, and he soon found himself relinquishing sleep to return to the area of the remarkable stones by night.
When Ferdinand Cheval retired, it was time for the next phase of his ‘madness’ and, what he did next was truly extraordinary.
|Photo credit :Palais Ideal du Facteur Cheval|
Unencumbered by his lacking in formal education, experience in building and architecture, he was propelled by his vision and determination that lead him to complete is ‘Ideal Palace’ in 1922 after dedicating 33 years to the endeavour.
Sadly he died only 2 days later. However, during his time, his eccentricity caught the attention and imagination of many highly regarded luminaries including Picasso and Max Ernst who went on to create a work which he entitled; ‘The postman Cheval’.
I like people unfettered by experience and education. There is something so inspiring and fascinating about the way that they pursue an objective in an uncommon and dogged way.
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