Seigneurie de la mare au poivre (Country Manor of Pepper Pond)Alexis le Breton (1929-2009)
Locqueltas, Bretagne, 56390, France
About the Artist/Site
When the farmer Alexis le Breton retired around 1986, he began to embellish his large property of approximately 12 acres: he planted hundreds of trees, dug a pond, and constructed a small chapel and a mill. He also began making sculptures, mostly in stone, but also using wood, despite having no training or schooling in sculpting. He actively worked on this art environment for some 23 years.
le Breton placed almost 200 sculptures along a 1.2-mile-long trail that meanders through the wooded landscape. Mixing sacred and secular themes, a not uncommon juxtaposition in Brittany, his creations included biblical personalities and stories, subjects from daily life and politics, and also works exploring the universal human condition, such as one honoring love. In addition to these thematic sculptures, there are all kinds of animals, including deer, owls, goats, and more.
le Breton liked playing with words so, as his property was located in a hamlet named Mare au sel (Salt Pond), he named his property Mare au poivre (Pepper Pond). He liked to wear a traditional Breton costume and enjoyed being referred to as the Seigneur du mare au poivre (Lord of the Pepper Pond). His delight in word play is also expressed in the panels that accompany many of his creations. Some are philosophical observations, while others are witty remarks or outspoken political observations like "vote à droite, vote à gauche, le fric tombe toujours dans la poche des gros" [vote right, vote left, the bucks always end up in the pocket of the big guys]. Others were more poetically inclined, like "ici on entend gazouiller les éléphants" [here one can hear elephants chirping].
The trail ends in a cluster of sculpted tombstones, grave pillars, and other symbols of death, an appropriate ensemble for the end of life. After le Breton died, an organization was formed to care for the site. Presided over by le Breton's daughter, it is active in preserving the sculptures, and welcomes visitors during summer weekends.
Henk van Es/Sophie Lepetit
Map & Site Information
Locqueltas, Bretagne, 56390 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 47.757878 / -2.765675