The artist Marcel Vinsard (1930-2016) spent thirty years as a men's hairdresser in Pontcharra. Necessarily for such a trade, and by nature, he was a very sociable person and an example of his spindly work, which was inspired by Giacometti's L'Homme qui marche, was installed in the mairie in Pontcharra some years before he died. Apparently it was after being given a book on Alberto Giacometti which provoked Vinsard to begin his huge work in and around his home, amounting to one thousand works. But as Montpied remarks, the cliché made by an unimaginative reporter in a local paper — 'Le Facteur Cheval de Pontcharra' — merely echoes other lame nicknames, and indeed I've heard of L'abbé Fouré described as 'Le Facteur Cheval de la Bretagne', and Rémy Callot as 'Le Facteur Cheval du Nord'.
At first Vinsard began working in wood, such as his bust of his grandfather Célestin Revol, although he soon learned that polystyrene — much lighter, more malleable, easily portable, etc — was far more suited to his needs. There were one thousand figures in all, and Vinsard was not only willing to allow the curious inside his 'chalet' to view his creations, but he openly encouraged it by his self-advertising signs outside his house, and cycling around the village with an advert on his front shopping basket, and a bust of his deceased wife at the back.
Vinsard's figures are rooted in reality, and are arranged in no particular order, members of his family democratically side by side with heads of states and popular celebrities: Gérard Depardieu, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande, Roselyne Bachelot, Coluche, François Mitterrand, Jacques and Bernadette Chirac, Eddie Mitchell, Groucho Marx, Albert Einstein, etc.
Marcel Vinsard, who was in hospital with a serious heart complaint, died before being able to read this book about him and his work. Before he died many of his works had been plundered, many of them had suffered from neglect of upkeep due to his hospitalisation. It is hoped that they will re-appear in brocantes or other places to enable some of his works to be recuperated.
Montpied refers to a 28-minute video clip on YouTube, made by Yvan Ducognon in 2013, in which Marcel Vinsard describes some of his creations, and this is fascinating: Le Jardin extraordinaire de Marcel V.
Links to my outsider artists (and related) posts:
Kevin Duffy, Ashton-in-Makerfield
The Outsider Art of Léopold Truc, Cabrières d'Avignon (34)
Le Musée Extraordinaire de Georges Mazoyer, Ansouis (34)
Le Facteur Cheval's Palais Idéal, Hauterives (26)
The Little Chapel, Guernsey
Museum of Appalachia, Norris, Clinton, Tennessee
Ed Leedskalnin in Homestead, Florida
La Fabuloserie, Dicy, Yonne (89)
Street Art City, Lurcy-Lévis, Allier (03)
The Outsider Art of Jean Linard, Neuvy-deux-Clochers (18)
La Fabuloserie, Dicy, Yonne (89)
Jean Bertholle, La Fabuloserie, Yonne (89)
Jean-Pierre Schetz, La Fabuloserie, Yonne (89)
Jules Damloup, La Fabuloserie, Yonne (89)
Camille Vidal, La Fabuloserie, Yonne (89)
Pascal Verbena, La Fabuloserie, Yonne (89)
The Art of Theodore Major
Edward Gorey's Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, MA
Marcel Vinsard in Pontcharra, Isère (38)
Carine Fol (ed.): Outsider Art in Question
Vincent Capt: Écrivainer : La langue morcelée de Samuel Daiber