Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Aveyron- the brilliant sculptures of André Debru

My life here took a break when, in April, we went on a brief visit to the Aveyron, a very hilly French department about 400 kilometres to the south-east of here. Distances there are measured by time, not kilometres, as the narrow and twisty roads clinging to valley sides are best navigated slowly!! Our car's satnav (GPS) route to one of the many beautiful villages in the region led us through Les Costes-Gozon, a fairly remote and isolated hill-top village. A series of arresting metal sculptures at the roadside gave us good reason to stop and look. They proved to be the work of renowned French sculptor André Debru, whose workshop there is surrounded by dozens of his metal artworks. Sadly for us the workshop was closed at the time, for health reasons, we understood from the chalked notice at the front door. We hope he will soon be back at work.


André's father and grandfather were farriers, and from a very young age he learnt the blacksmith's trade. When only 11, he started making sculptures of his comic book heroes. He then started collecting bits of iron and steel, some very small and intricate, ranging from screws, nuts and bolts to sheet metal and wire coils. He has produced  some  most amazing work over the years, all life size, some of which you can see in my photos below.


The little tramp - Charlie Chaplin


A giraffe with Popeye.

A very large elephant, note the stork perched on its trunk. A reminder that Hannibal passed through here on his way to the Alps.

Outside the Mairie in the village is this stunning proportioned sculpture of a knight on horseback. 

In 1889, the centenary of the French Revolution was celebrated with the erection of a replica of the Statue of Liberty in the main square of the local town of Saint Affrique (Nice name!). That bronze original was removed and melted down in 1941 to help the war effort, but only in 2005 was Andre Debru commissioned to make this replacement in iron.

The farrier :-)))

Rhinoceros also with a small bird on its back, possibly intended to be an oxpecker. Astonishing anatomy, all in stainless steel!

Having a laugh! A joke speed camera. Doucement can imply slowly, but cabourd isn't in my dictionary- it may be a dialect word, but this is great use for an old washer! "Clous" are nails.

A dancing bear, with Tintin and his dog Snowy in the background.

Camel, a long way from water!

Cow, not forgetting the cow bell, and a view of the spectacular but hazy Aveyron countryside in the background.

My favourite is this family of three horses. So brilliantly made!

Thanks once again to Nigel for his research.





Also see my daily diary HERE

and My Life Before Charente (updated 09 April 2016) 



36 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I have to agree with you there, so glad that the Satnav picked this tiny twisty road :-) Have a good week Diane

      Delete
  2. These are absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing that a person can produce something like this out of junk. I could not take enough photos! Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  3. They really are wonderful. Congratulations on a fantastic find!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, I hate the Satnav usually when it take narrow roads as a short cut but this time it was to our advantage. Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  4. Superbe Diane! Merci de me faire découvrir ces animaux!!Ils sont si drôles!
    Diane, ne soyez pas désolée, il est impossible de toujours laisser un commentaire. Moi aussi je fais comme vous, je lis et visite la France avec vous, et quand il s'agit d'animaux , cela me parle davantage!
    Belle continuation à vous, vous êtes une excellente ambassadrice de notre beau pays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Notre visite chez Dubru était fait complètement par hasard ! Nous avons eu
      de la chance le découvrir – cet homme qui n’est pas peut-être très bien
      connu hors de la région. Ce petit coin de France est plein des plus beaux
      villages, et autre choses à voir ! Je vais ecrire encore de ma visite au
      département douze ! Bonne journée Diane

      Delete
  5. Oh my gosh Diane, Monsieur Debru is a master artiste. The work that has gone into each and every one is astounding. Thank you so much for showing it has been such a treat to get to see these amazing sculptures.. that's one of the things I love about blogging :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace as you say Monsieur Debru is a master artiste. His work is just amazing and all to life size, that elephant and giraffe are huge. They do not seem to advertise so I am so glad that we came across them and I am able to share his magnificent work. Hope you are well Diane.

      Delete
  6. Aint it not amazing how some people can create art like this?

    Sugarcandycandy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A natural artist, how I wish I had that talent :-) Thanks for the visit and the comment Diane

      Delete
  7. Une découverte pour moi. Merci beaucoup.
    A bientôt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci Nadji. Je suis heureux que vous avez apprécié les photos disponibles. Un artiste très intelligent. Bonne journée Diane

      Delete
  8. What stunning work...you lucky devils that your satnav took you there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha Fly, I so often curse the Satnav when it picks narrow roads but this is one time when I am grateful that it did. I was attracted to the family of horses by the side of the road and then we saw everything else. Sad that the shop was not open but we probably could not have afforded anything. Quite an experience to see all his work though. Hope that you are both well and the forward steps are bigger than the backward ones. Take care Diane

      Delete
  9. We motorbiked around Aveyron and found it delightful. These sculptures are stunning, what a talent!

    According to Wiktionary, 'cabourd' means 'fou, dingue, brute, bourrin', as in 'Elle est cabourde celle-là!'. Only said in Occitanie, apparently. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah I think I would have preferred a motor bike, some of those roads are so narrow for a car and we have not even got a big one!
      Thanks for the translation that we could not find, afraid our Occitan is not very good!! Hope you enjoyed these photos a great talent indeed. Hope you are well. Diane

      Delete
  10. Yes the last one is a winner. They are all very interestingly put together. I have seen these types of sculptures in other places like In the grounds of the University of California. I wonder if it was the same artist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree the last one is stunning but I liked them all. I wonder if it is the same artist? I am sure though that there are other artists that do similar work. Hope all is well, t'other Diane

      Delete
  11. I love all these Diane are plus belle !
    I love the horses and the elephant Diane <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gloria, they are quite amazing especially when you think they are made out of junk as such.
      Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  12. One word for these, Wow. The rhino and the elephant are my favourites x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kerry, I love them all but horses just come out in front for me :-) Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  13. Hi Diane - aren't they amazing .. I love them all - the Knight on Horseback resonates ... but the elephant as a reminder of Hannibal's travels is quite extraordinary ... They are so good and as you comment give themselves 'skin' ..

    Loved seeing these - thanks so much ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hilary, the Knight on horseback looked so real as we drove past and then drove back to look, it was amazing. Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  14. Those sculptures are terrific! It must have been a spectacular drive. These prove that artistic talent is innate, and not learned; again you have given us a nice tour of an area most of us will never see. Have a nice weekend, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are amazing and we were so lucky to have come across them. Not an area many people will see, I cannot imagine that anyone would go that way unless they had a temperamental Satnav!! Hope that you are all well Diane

      Delete
  15. WOW, Diane. These are great! What fabulous creations to produce out of scrap metal. Some of those larger pieces must have been very difficult to construct, and he's captured the character of the animals so beautifully.

    I hope you're having a great weekend - best wishes for the week ahead - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Richard, I really do not know how he has managed to build up these life size pieces from scrap but he has very successfully done it. As you say he has captured the chararcter so well, very clever man.
      Hope you are having a good week, Diane

      Delete
  16. I love this story yet my signal is so terrible none of the photos opened. :( I'll have to come back and try again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am struggling to reply to comments as the connection here is so poor at the moment so I know your frustrations with a bad signal. I hope you manage to get back and see the photos as they show amazing artistic talent. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  17. How fun! They're all great, but I really like the camel and cow. They'd be great to see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam they were all brilliant and I really loved each and every one. A great artist. Hope you are well, have a good weekend Diane

      Delete
  18. Considering your love of horses, I can see why the last one would be your favorite. Isn't it nice when you can discover something fun like this unexpectedly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen it was really the very last thing we expected in the back of nowhere, a great discovery and for once the satnav did not get cursed for taking us on an unexpected route :-) Have a great weekend Diane

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and pass a comment. Every comment is appreciated and I try to reply to each and every one. All comments are verification free but will come to me for approval first :-)) No Anonymous Users!