La Maison FleurieAntoine Puéo (1892-1965)
Lézignan-Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11200, France
About the Artist/Site
It is believed that the decoration of this house began in the beginning of the 1940s. Antoine Puéo, a mason of Spanish origin, had come as a young man to France, where he obtained his diploma. He married a woman who was a well-regarded chef.
The original building varied little from the others on narrow Gambetta Street. Puéo removed the balustrades and installed them higher up on the building; he also added new floors, making the building much higher than the surrounding structures, and ornamented the façades with sculptures that he made himself. Some of these were ornamented with shells or glass bottles; such found objects, as well as dolls, rocks, and metallic “incrustations,” were also attached directly to the façades, and to anyone’s knowledge, no pieces ever became dislodged and fell to the ground. In addition to the found objects and sculptures, Puéo covered the house with potted flowers and plants, inspiring the vernacular name by which the house was locally known. It is thought that Puéo was inspired by the work of Ferdinand Cheval, but he may also have seen the works of Gaudí in Barcelona, conjectures his granddaughter, Marie-José Puig.
Although La Maison Fleurie was for many years an appreciated symbol of the village, with postcards featuring its ornamented façade, when the urban planners decided to renovate and widen the street, which would require its demolition, there was no outcry or attempt to turn it into a small museum to attract tourists. Puig sold the building to the municipality in 2001, despite knowing that ultimately it would be razed. And although the discovery of some archeological remnants delayed its demolition at the end of 2013, it is still in danger of destruction. The granddaughter commented, “One mustn’t look to the past. Otherwise, we would never advance.”
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Lézignan-Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11200 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 43.200503 / 2.757776
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