The Ferdinand Cheval’s Ideal Palace
April 1879. During one of his rounds, Ferdinand Cheval, rural postman, 43, stumbles against such an odd stone that it awakes a dream. Real self-taught, he devotes 33 years of his life to build a dream palace in his garden alone. His inspiration comes from nature, postcards and the very first illustrated magazines that he deals.
During his daily country rounds of about 18 miles and with the help of this faithful wheelbarrow he pickes up stones. Alone, misunderstood, he writes down on his building “The work of one man”. His dream palace gets completed in 1912
In the heart of a flourishing garden, he imagines a uninhabitable palace populated by an incredible bestiary: octopus, hind, caiman, elephant, pelican, bear, birds… But also giants, fairies, mythological figures or architectures from all the continents. An architectural work as unclassifiable as universal.
Unique in the world, the Ideal Palace has inspired artists for more than a century. Independent from any artistic trend, built with no architectural rules, the Ideal Palace has been admired by the Surrealists and is considered as an Outsider Art work. He has been classified Historical Monument in 1969 by André Malraux, French Minister for Cultural Affairs at that time under Naïve Art.