Espace Esther and Félix Oudin is worth the detour and we tell you why. 

That we are sensitive to religious art or not, the collection that hides discreetly just behind the Basilica deserves to be pushed open and stopped. 

Julie Little

There is in the east chapel of the Basilica a Virgin and Child. Its appearance reminds us a little of the black virgins present in Puy en Velay or Notre Dame d'Ay. Not of Roman origin, however. This Our Lady of Peace is the work of the artist Felix Oudin.

An unexpected artistic heritage

It is by taking a closer interest in the art of this son of a teacher from Loiret, that the Jesuit fathers of Lalouvesc will bequeath this collection by their descendants. It comes from the workshop of Félix and his wife Esther.  

Félix Oudin defined himself as an image maker. He worked after the war as a model maker in an architecture firm and we find in his sculptures this concern for balance and proportions.

A modern style for a millennial subject

The two artists are particularly modern. The exotic influence is quite marked (India with the Virgin of Hope inspired by Pondicherry). There is also something that reminds us of the colorful churches of Mexico or the northeast in Brazil. 

The sobriety of the details contrasts with the emotion that emanates from the characters. It is an art that one could easily describe as affectionate, ornaive art. The faces are open and harmonious. Small, well-thought-out details give them an astonishing humanity. Thus the sculptures arouse in the visitor the desire to converse, to meet them. Art is religious, sacred yes! But so direct, so simple in appearance and full of sympathy that one feels at ease. We feel much more welcomed than impressed by his subjects and Saints whose battles sometimes escape us.

A family visit

If the collection discreetly invites pilgrims on the way to Saint Régis to reflect and introspect on a living and communicative faith, do not hesitate to visit the Oudin space. with their kids. 

Félix, before contributing to the revival of sacred art in France, was illustrator for young audiences and it shows. The characters and especially the animals will undoubtedly inspire many toddlers to drawings or modeling. Between a fun course to learn to recognize trees and a good chestnut ice cream, it will be a great way to also meet the expectations of cultural and artistic holidays.

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