SERIES. The Tarn-et-Garonnais of 2022: Patrick Fonzes, a life in the service of culture

the important thing
Third part of our series to select “Tarn-et-Garonnais of the year 2022”. Patrick Fonzes, the animator of the Maison du Crieur in Montauban, will retire next April after 7 years in the establishment. The opportunity to look back on his actions in the service of this place, but also his love for the culture of Montalban, and in particular Bourdelle.

A living encyclopedia. This is how to define Patrick Fonzes in two words. This personality, known to residents interested in the culture of Montalban, will retire next April. But we know, with him, nothing is really over. Because this former teacher, who is passionate about his country, its culture and history, does not intend to stop there. Since forever, what everyone knows as the face of Crier’s House never tires of answering any question that sticks in his mind.

Like a detective, as he likes to describe himself when he embarks on a cultural investigation, “I’m always looking for it,” he says. Because nothing comes back to him when it comes to culture, especially when it concerns the artist Antoine Bourdelle, for whom the Montalbanis developed a consuming desire almost 30 years ago, to the point of knowing the smallest details of his life. and share them with the public. But to understand how it got there, let’s go back in time, and specifically to 1992, where it all started.

Bourdelle’s lover

“It was in Toulouse. I was going to the regional health education committee. I was on the Allée de Barcelona, ​​I was walking. And there, I saw a bronze sculpture. And the closer I got, the more magnetized I became. When I got to the front, almost I felt panic, intense emotions. I even arrived late for my appointment!”, he confessed with a laugh. However, at that time, the 32-year-old instructor did not know anything about Bourdelle, but the engine was launched, it was impossible to stop. After a billion questions and searches, he discovered it was one of ten replicas of the Herakles archer, the masterpiece that launched the artist’s career. Then begins a growing appetite for him.

Over the course of the research, his life, his work, his struggles, in short, Bourdelle has no more secrets for him or almost, until his traces are found everywhere in Montauban, the department and even until in Paris, where a museum is dedicated to him and sculptures are scattered throughout the capital. “He made the bronze bust of Gustave Eiffel under the Tower”, he confessed then. And since there was no stopping him, he even contacted the people of the Eiffel Tower website to include the artist’s name in the explanations. Until 2015, this love for Bourdelle would lead him to organize conferences, exhibitions, and even find a descendant of the artist in the United States, Peter Anthony Bourdelle, his grandson, if where he organized an exhibition with his father Pierre Bourdelle.

Also read:
Choose the Tarn-et-Garonnais of the year 2022

The Face of Screaming

As you can understand, Patrick Fonzes has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. This thirst, he also made it available in the house of the Crieur even before becoming the face of this cultural area. From 2013, he who is also enthusiastic about other great artists such as Ingres, François Desnoyer, Robert Lapoujade or Marcel Lenoir, organized with the host an exhibition on famous faces of art. Of course, an exhibition at Bourdelle followed, and two years later, almost naturally, he was the animator of the Maison du Crieur. To this day, those who pass by this place know that he will not count his time to revive this establishment. Starting with the artists, all singular in their approach, and who he took care to choose according to his encounters. But also in the arrangement of the place that he changed, such as his “little cultural display” that he makes it an honor to keep up to date, or the corner of the library, full of books about Montauban and its artists. As Patrick Fonzes admits, “he’s more interested in people than walls”.

Its main dates

June 27, 1960 : birth at Montauban.

1992 : first encounter with Bourdelle in Toulouse, see Herakles archer in bronze. His passion for the artist begins.

2013-14 : he organized his first exhibitions at the Maison du Crieur with the famous Montalbanais and Bourdelle.

2015 : he became an animator at the Maison du Crieur.

2022 : he organized his own latest exhibition “Montauban, my love”, which brings together all his discoveries about the city and in which he expresses his love for the Cité d’Ingres.

“During these years, I also set up a treasure chest, to whet people’s appetites and send them back to the cultural areas of the city. The principle is simple: one thing, one story about Montauban “, specified the enthusiast. Mona Lisa, violin, flag of the Spanish Republic, Claude François and the Eiffel Tower, every anecdote about Montauban is buried in this trunk, which immediately appeals to those who open it and only he has the power to tell.

But Patrick Fonzes also screams in the flesh. As the ideas run through his head, he remembers that Montauban was founded in 1144, and that every Saturday morning, the Place Nationale is full of people. “It’s tilted, I say to myself: why not disguise myself as a crier, and announce the cultural program at 11:44 in the morning?”, he explained. So, not one or two, he gets a hat and a promontory made by the town hall, and voila.

Ideas like these, he had so many that it was impossible to tell them all. Last but not least, you will definitely see it as you pass in front of the Maison du Crieur, where a few meters further on a facade has been rehabilitated as a tribute to the Olympes de Gouges. And cultural projects for Montauban, even after retirement, it will not stop for him. “Because I always had the feeling that I was born to search and discover,” he sums up in a mischievous tone that portends many other surprises.

What he wants

A dish : the Tellines (delicious little shellfish from the coast to prepare in vinaigrette, garlic and parsley). Childhood memory in Nîmes with my grandparents!

A movie : Cyrano de Bergerac with Depardieu. Great performance and interpretation not to mention superb music.

An artist : François Desnoyer, born in Montauban, because he painted the beaches in my childhood and he is an optimist, hates colors like I do in painting.

A song : armstrong by Claude Nougaro, a great anti-racist anthem sung every day, all over the world.

An artist : Albert Dupontel with gentle black humor, crazy, tinged with the absurd and with a tender look at humanity. He hugs me and makes me laugh.

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