18 August 2022

Gabriel Voisin, Le Villars, Saône-et-Loire (71)

Interestingly, the British movie Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965) is called the rather different Ces merveilleux fous volants dans leurs drôles de machines: and Gabriel Voisin, a pioneer of aviation, is frequently referred to as a 'fou volant': 'fou' by no means always has the pejorative connotations as the English 'mad'.

Gabriel worked with his brother Charles until he died in 1912, and there are many photos of them with hydroplanes, bi- and tri-planes. Gabriel turned his many skills to automobiles in 1918: he was a friend of Le Corbusier, who admired his futuristic cars.

Voisin was a playboy who had no sense of control over money, and was bankrupted on a number of occasions. And a genius he certainly was, inventing guns, traps, ovens, furniture, etc. He was also a painter and sculptor. He wrote four books: La Naissance De L'Aéroplane (1927); Mes 10 000 cerfs-volants (1960); Mes mille et une voitures (1962); and Nos Étonnantes chasses (1963).

Voisin moved to Le Villars with his second wife Juliette, then to nearby Ozenay. He is buried in the tiny cemetery in tiny Le Villars, as is his wife.

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