La maison des champs (The country house)Robert Tatin (1902-1983)
1 Rue de la Poste, Cossé-le-Vivien, Pays de la Loire, 53230, France
It is open all year to the public via guided tours.
About the Artist/Site
Born in the city of Laval in Normandie, France, Robert Tatin was interested in art from an early age. When he was 16, he left for Paris to take art classes, and to work as a decorator. Around 1924, having fulfilled his military service, he returned to Laval, and founded a construction company. During this period, until the beginning of World War II, he travelled widely throughout Europe.
After the war, Tatin returned to Paris, where he established a ceramics studio. He became part of a circle of artists that regenerated France’s cultural life after the war. In 1950 he left France for ten years, travelling throughout South America.
In 1962, at age sixty, he bought an old house in La Frénouse, a small neighborhood in Laval. For the next 21 years, he worked on the property, assisted by his wife Lise, to create a visionary environment that reflected his life experiences and view of the world.
To begin, the Tatins constructed a building resembling a temple next to their home, and fashioned its entranceway to resemble the mouth of an enormous dragon. Visitors walk through its maw to the garden of meditation surrounded by a variety of sculptures and extensively decorated walls. Stone bas-reliefs recount the story of the founding of civilizations of the west and east. Centrally located in the garden is a 6.5 meter (21 feet) statue of the Lady of All the World; to the east is the Sun Gate, celebrating the rising of the sun, and to the west is the Gate of the Moon. A small pond is surrounded by constructions symbolizing the twelve months, and the garden itself is encircled with rooms displaying Tatin’s paintings and ceramics.
Tatin later lined the long road leading to the museum—some 80 meters (262 feet) long—with 19 statues, most representing notables from history or the arts. Each figure stands about 2.5 meters (or 8 feet) high. From this road visitors may view the “Gate of the Giants” on the museum’s façade, which features oversized high-relief images of Robert Tatin’s artistic heroes: Rembrandt, van Gogh, Léonardo da Vinci, Goya, and Delacroix.
In 2002 the site became an official Musée de France. It is open all year to the public via guided tours.
~Henk van Es
ceramics, paint, stone
Map & Site Information
1 Rue de la Poste
Cossé-le-Vivien, Pays de la Loire, 53230 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 47.9450999 / -0.912739
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