Francois Scotti (1889-1959)
Francois Scotti is mentioned in Chapter 5 of our Butchart Gardens History. Here is an excerpt:
“….The Butcharts also hired Francois Scotti (1889-1959), another young artist who had an important, yet often overlooked, influence on their gardens. Scotti introduced Robert and Jennie Butchart to the idea of using concrete as an artistic medium and to the use of concrete statuary and sculpted concrete features, such as stair railings and arbours, in their gardens at Tod Inlet.
The Butcharts met first Francois Scotti in 1910 while travelling on the French Riviera. During their trip, the Butcharts noticed concrete garden structures and decorative features in several French gardens. A few enquiries led them to the maker of these concrete garden works, a small firm called Casa Rustic operated by J.D. Scotti in the town of Menton, near the French-Italian border.
Robert Butchart, who was totally familiar with the use of concrete as a building and construction material, was impressed by Scotti’s use of concrete as an artistic medium. Before leaving France, Robert Butchart signed an agreement with J.D. Scotti under which Scotti’s 21 year old son, Francois, would come to Benvenuto for a year to create concrete garden structures in the Butcharts’ gardens.
In 1911-12 Francois Scotti worked for the Butcharts at Benvenuto, where his techniques for sculpting concrete certainly influenced his employers and co-workers. Robert Butchart noted that some of his cement factory workers were copying Francois Scotti’s techniques and were soon using Scotti’s methods to create stair rails and rose arbours at Benvenuto. Even Jennie Butchart took a “hands on” interest in Scotti’s techniques and was, her husband wrote proudly, soon modelling wet concrete with “a stout table fork.”
In 1912, after fulfilling his agreement with the Butcharts, Francois Scotti left Benvenuto and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his artistic career. Scotti experienced some difficulties during his first few years in Los Angeles. In 1913 he was supporting himself as a dishwasher, rather than as an artist. But despite these initial setbacks, he had, within a few years, established himself in business as a sculptor, specializing in concrete features for homes and gardens.
In 1915, he created several concrete garden structures at Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. He also re-established a business connection with the Butcharts. In 1915, the Butcharts purchased a concrete Wishing Well from Scotti’s Los Angeles based business, the Art Cement Company at 324 W. 6th St. This Wishing Well is now prominently displayed in the Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens…..”
Here are some Francois Scotti designs and installations in Los Angeles, California:
Here is a map showing the location of Elysian Park in Los Angeles:
Here is a map showing the location of 649 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California:
Here is a Google Street View image showing the current appearance of 649 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California:
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