La Maison Bleue (The Blue House)Euclides Ferreira da Costa (1902-1984)

Status

Extant

Address

8-10 Rue des Frères Bisson , Dives-sur-Mer, Basse-Normandie, 14160, fr

Built

1957-1977

Visiting Information

Guided tours are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays in July, August, and September (until the 19th). Admission is €5 for adults; children 18 and under are free. Private guided tours for groups of minimum twelve people can be arranged from April to October. Reservations required at 02.31.91.82.47 or 02.31.91.39.30. 

About the Artist/Site

Euclides Ferreira Da Costa migrated from Portugal to France in 1924, and worked in the Tréfimétaux metal factory in Dives-sur-Mer until 1954, when he became ill with tuberculosis and retired with a small pension.

In 1957 he began to decorate the garden around his house on the Rue des Frères Bisson. Concerned about Laika, the dog sent into space on the Russian Sputnik 2 without a vehicle for her return, Da Costa built a cement and glass mosaic monument in her memory.

For the next twenty years or so, he continued to add buildings to his garden, constructing as many as 18 with iron frames that he covered with cement tile, and then decorated in mosaic patterns made from broken plates, glass, tiles, and mirrors he collected at the local garbage tip. Some of the buildings were patterned with representations of animals, and many replicated Roman Catholic sites and symbols, including chapels in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, and St. Rita of Cascia, and a monument to Sacré Coeur (the Sacred Heart). As blue was the predominant color Da Costa used in his mosaics, his art environment became known as “The Blue House.”

Da Costa worked on his garden until around 1977. He died in 1984. He and his wife had no children; shortly before her death in 1989, she sold the property to the community of Dives.

In 1991 the site was declared a Historical Monument and the City of Dives began restoration, including the installation of a security system. Work was suspended in 1994 when funds ran out, but in 2004 an association of friends formed to secure the site’s future. The group located sponsors, and the city announced the resumption of restoration in 2010. Until restoration is complete, the site remains closed to the general public.

~Hank van Es

Update: 

Guided tours are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays in July, August, and September (until the 19th). Admission is €5 for adults; children 18 and under are free. Private guided tours for groups of minimum twelve people can be arranged from April to October. Reservations required at 02.31.91.82.47 or 02.31.91.39.30. 

Materials

cement, glass, iron, mirror, tile

SPACES Archives Holdings

The SPACES archive contains slides, negatives and prints of the site.

Map & Site Information

8-10 Rue des Frères Bisson
Dives-sur-Mer, Basse-Normandie, 14160 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 49.2916466 / -0.0987374

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