Remembering Laurent Danchin (1946-2017)

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Danielle Jacqui, La Maison de Celle qui Peint [The House of She Who Paints]

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Visiting Information

Visits to the house are free to the public, with prior arrangement. Tel:  +33 03 32 04 25 32.



About the Artist/Site

Jacqui’s parents, her father a jeweler and her mother a militant feminist, separated shortly after her birth, and she was moved among several different temporary homes, ending up with a couple, both teachers, who embraced the Freinet method of education, which encouraged free expression among its students. She never completed her studies, because at age 18 she married a mason; together they had four children before their divorce in 1970.

Jacqui became a seller of antiques and second-hand goods after the divorce, and then, the following year, began to paint. Soon thereafter she met her second husband, Claude Leclercq, likewise a second-hand dealer; he shared her artistic energy and encouraged her work. Following the first exhibition of her paintings in Marseille in 1973 or 1974, she realized that her work might be considered “marginal art,” and, in 1981, after a visit to Robert Tatin’s museum, she began her monumental work: decorating her house such that every inch was covered with paintings and mosaics, shells and embroideries. It is dense with color, with movement, with figuration and form; so dense, in fact, that the original architectural substructure is hardly discernable. Linking her art with her life, she signs her discrete works not with her name, but with the moniker, “she who paints.” She has also declared, “My façade is much more than simple decoration: it is a message, a will expressed in the face of the architectural conservatism of Provence, where the walls ‘have’ to be yellow, well done, and very much like each other. My façade is my liberty.”[i]

It is not just the façade—whose initial phase took her ten years to complete—but the interior of the house as well, that is full of sculptures, dolls, textiles, buttons, shells, and all kinds of treasures. Not only the walls but the furniture is covered with her paintings, collages, “jewels,” and sculptures. A room in the back looks like a fantastic grotto, giving out into a garden of totems. She sews dolls and dresses them in colorful assemblages of fabrics—some of which she has further enhanced by painting, along with feathers, pins, and buttons, recalling the ornamentation of her home.

In 1990 Jacqui founded and organized a festival, now biennial, of “singular art” in Aubagne, in order to bring together artists, such as herself, who she believes will never fall within the normative categories of art history. Her work has been shown in such institutions as the Fabuloserie (Dicy, France), the Site de la Création Franche (Bègles, France), and the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore, MD). She completed a 50-meter-long work linking Pont-de-l’Etoile with Roquevaire in 1999, and has redone significant parts of the façade of her painted house four times since 1985. In 1999 an association of friends of Danielle Jacqui was formed in order to help develop, promote, and safeguard her work, including welcoming visitors to the house.

In November 2006 Jacqui moved to Aubagne in order to create a “colossal work of art brut,” which she calls Organugamme. It is thirty meters long, twelve high and twelve deep, with passageways, towers, windows, and more. “But after the house,” she said, “I couldn’t do anything less.”

Visits to the house are free to the public, with prior arrangement. Tel:  +33 03 32 04 25 32.

~Jo Farb Hernández


[i] Quoted in Marielle Magliozzi, Art Brut, architectures marginales: Un art du bricolage,” Editions L’Harmattan, 2008: 201.



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Roquevaire, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Latitude/Longitude: 43.327929 / 5.597641

Visiting Information

Visits to the house are free to the public, with prior arrangement. Tel:  +33 03 32 04 25 32.



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