Sajous Henri Paul Pierre Architec

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Henri SAJOUS was born in Bordeaux (France), on May 2nd, 1897
His parents : Jean Bertrand Leon SAJOUS and Euphrasie Marguerite BERNELAS.

He died on July 5th, 1975 in Nice (when he was 78 years old)
(Family tree)

When he was 12 he attended drawing and antics evening classes at the “Ecole Municipale de Beaux Arts” in Bordeaux.
At the age of 16, he was taught decorative sculpture by Pr LEROUX.
He was admitted as a pupil when he was 18 in the famous Ferret Architecture Workshop.  He won the first prize to the “Concours en loge”.


Mobilized during the 1914 war

He was a soldier in the first 1917 company class ; he was rewarded with the Cross of the War. He was officially mentioned twice : from Lieutenant Colonel DUCONGE and Commandant of the 64th Infantry Regiment.
“He was an excellent observer soldier, who supplied useful information about the enemy organization. He behaved courageously during the battles” – June 1918
“Company OBSERVATEUR. Was working as a liaison officer. He courageously carried out his mission”. November 1918.
During the war, H. SAJOUS was gassed, which resulted in asthma problems for the rest of his life.

"He was an excellent observer soldier, who supplied useful information about the enemy organization. He behaved courageously during the battles” – June 1918
“Company OBSERVATEUR. Was working as a liaison officer. He courageously carried out his mission”. November 1918.
During the war, H. SAJOUS was gassed, which resulted in asthma problems for the rest of his life.


End of the world wide war
on November 11th, 1918.  

Admitted to the examination of “l’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts” – ARCHITECTURE Section

ecoles beaux arts paris

During the 1921-1924 school years, he’s a pupil of Pr EXPERT (member of the Institute), and thanks to 3 of his first projects, he passed two first distinctions and then obtained the Labarre prize. (a yearly examination for big-scaled projects, with more than 500 candidates participating).

- Silver medal of the S.A.D.G
- Valleton grant from the city of Bordeaux in 1924
- First Second Medal in 1929
- Diploma from the government in 1930


Associated to Charles HEBRARD, Emile MOLINIE, Charles NICOD (first Grand Prix of Rome, teacher at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts).
And in close collaboration with his friend, the sculptor Gabriel-Noël RISPAL

thermes cambo les bainsbebedouro thermes

He passed his architect diploma with the building of the Hydropathic Establishment in Cambo, Basses Pyrénées area.

He created drawings and models for furniture, floors (marble, mosaic flooring), wrought-ironed-gates, fountains, carpets, curtains, lights, sculptures, low-relief.. he was always concerned about using noble materials.
Whatever his creation was, he used to work on it very meticulously.
Then, the building was carried out by famous specialists, such as M. RHULMANN and M. BRANDT.

He attended courses, including “Les Beaux Arts” school in Bordeaux, in the same schools as Gabriel RISPAL and Charles HEBRARD ; and then “Les Beaux Arts” school in Paris, H.SAJOUS and C.HEBRARD in Architecture Section, and G.RISPAL in the Sculpture Section.

On the 14th of April, 1928, when he was 30, he married Jeanne Marthe Charlier (Nine, who was born in St Quentain, Aine) in Paris. His friends Jean Sauboa, painter-artist,  and Gabriel Rispal, sculptor, were invited.


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"My first trip to Rio de Janeiro, in my cabin the ship Massilia, on the stand a bottle of champagne given to me by my brother Edouard to my departure from Bordeaux "


In 1930 M. Francisco de Souza Costa (owner of Cambo’s Hydropathic Establishment and of Arnaga Villa, which had belonged to Edmond Rostand) asked him to carry out the project of building an Hydropathic Establishment in Sao Lourenço, state of Minas-Brazil

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In 1931, H. SAJOUS, together with Charles Hébrard and the engineer Auguste Rendu (who will follow him to Brazil), created in Paris an association to promote the works carried out in South America.

1930 – 1945 Gétulio Vargas, President of Brazil

In 1931 and 1932 he became a Member of the Rio de Janeiro’s Central Architects Institute. His diploma was validated by the Brazilian Government.

In 1933, H. SAJOUS worked in France and in Brazil ; but, the association broke off, because of a disagreement with Auguste RENDU.

In Brazil, he carried out the building of thermal establishments, houses, churches, shops, laboratories, schools, buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo.



His wife felt homesick in Brazil ; so, as his collaborators were French, he used to go back to France quite often to order some pieces of materials and noble material. He also used to bring back some Baccarat crystal for his buildings.

As a taken of his friendship, Gabriel Rispal exhibits Mrs Jeanne Marthe Charlier SAJOUS’s bust.

He passed Architecture Examination for the “Palais du Commerce” in Rio de Janeiro, and obtained the first prize and the carrying out of the project.
Hanging of the first stone. The building was officially inaugurated by the President of Brazil, Getulio VARGAS, and by the high civil and military Authorities.


December 28th, 1939

He wrote Gabriel RISPAL to order the first statues for “Santa Trinidade” Church in Rio de Janeiro, a Bless Virgin built on the same pattern as the one made for Ste Agnès d’Alfort, a Sacred Heart, and a Ste Therese statue ; these were the first of the 18 statues which were going to decorate the columns of the nave.
During this period, Brazil became increasingly industrialized ; it is described as the “sleeping giant” of the American continent, a potential worldwide power.


2nd World War from 1939 from 1945

On May 30th, 1940

he wrote to Gabriel RISPAL in order to ask him to undertake the carrying out of the sculpture of “Santa Trinidade” church (in Rio de Janeiro) in his own premises located in Biarritz, for security reasons during the war.


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June 22nd, 1941
He’s informed by Gabriel RISPAL about their friend Charles HEBRARD’s death. He was an Architect and often collaborated with both of them. Gabriel RISPAL built his gravestone.


During 3 years the sending of mail was interrupted


 On December 15h, 1944
N. SAJOUS wrote to Odette, his sister-in-law : .....

“We’re allowed for the first time to send mails to France, a postcard. I hope that you will be authorized to write to France and I’m looking forward to hear from you. How are you ? Give me some news. I’m also sending a letter to Mum, Daniel, God-Mother and G.RISPALl in Paris. If hopefully one of these letters reaches you, you’ll know that Nine (Jeanne Marthe Charlier SAJOUS) and I are in good health. We’re living in Sao Paulo instead of in Rio because of the climate is milder there. You can write me to my Sao Paulo office 209 rua José Bonifacio. If I can do anything to help you, please let me know, I’ll do my best immediately, should the legal authorizations be granted. Once the war ends up, Nine and I will take the first ferry that goes to France. We are both sending you our kindest regards. Henri”


From 1930 to 1944 H. SAJOUS and his wife lived in Rio and from 1944 to 1959 in Sao Paulo. H.SAJOUS’s office in Sao Paulo was located in one of the buildings commissioned by the Count Attilio Matarazzo : “Brasilia” Building.


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When H. SAJOUS was coming back to Paris, he used to stay at the “Lutetia Hotel”, which still represents the “Parisian chic”, with its Art Déco architecture. In the heart of Saint-Germain-des Prés, one of the most famous places in the capital.
H. SAJOUS could rely on his friend Geza HELLER (an architect, painter, drawer, engraver, illustrator) while he was away. He gave him power of attorney and power of representation.

In 1946, he bought an appartment in Paris (16ème), 4 Villa Flore

In 1949,he wrote a letter to Gabriel RISPAL’s wife, further to his friend’s hospitalization: “Thanks for giving me some news from Gaby, who, in spite of all the cares, isn’t able to see yet. Two months, it’s a long time when you’re suffering. We hope that he will soon recover a normal sight, and a good health, so he will forget those hard months spent in the hospital.
In September, he asked for an estimation for the building of a horse of copper,  larger than life, for the Sao Paulo’s Jockey Club. Gabriel RISPAL mentions ; he however had no illusion about the opportunity of working in Brazil.
“Indeed, modern architecture is leaving less and less space for a sculpted ornamentation ; it is difficult to build a low-relief in stone next to a “cage of glass” (Rispal said).


In 1954, his nephew Michel Jean Sajous joined him in his adventure. He would work for him as a Drawer. In Bordeaux, Michel, who wanted to become an Architect, was studying Drawing in evening classes (“Philomatique” School). He had also been working for several years for the Architect Lamy.
So, at the age of 23, Michel shipped on the liner “Laënnec”. He fell in love with Brazil. His work for his uncle consisted in drawing and supervising the building sites. He collaborated with BRECHERET for the building of the low-relief (horses) of the Sao Paulo Jockey Club’s building façade.
Michel spent all the rest of his life in Brazil; he got married there, and got children (included myself, his daughter!).


In 1959, Henri SAJOUS left Brazil and, for his wife, he came back to settle in Paris. His wife died in 1962. He painfully experienced his wife’s death during several years. He travelled to Brazil several times, sold part of his possessions and took photos of some of his works there before leaving.

On June 2nd, 1965, he married Rolande Marguerite Marie GRAUX.
For the second time, his best friend Gabriel RISPAL attended the wedding as a witness, together with Sadok KHEDER, who worked as a Diplomat in Paris.


1965 -picture : Rolande and Henri in Brazil, with 2 of the 4 Michel (his nephew)'s children.

When he’s 68, he supervised some building sites in Paris and decided to find a job in France. Many documents mention the significance of the architectural works he carried out in South America. They also mention the Embassy’s congratulations for defending the prestige of French art abroad.

However, this period was very difficult for most of the architects. Moreover, the numerous years H. SAJOUS had spent abroad made him unknown on his native land. 

In 1966, he participated to the Concourse with his project for the development of the Bordeaux northern suburb (Bordeaux Lac area).

From 1967 to 1971 : over this five year-period, he exhibited at the French Artists Exhibition in the “Grand Palais” in Paris : 161 frames and scale models.
His first exhibition in 1967 was rewarded with the Honor Medal for the works he carried out in Brazil and in France, namely the “Bordeaux-Lac area” project.

From 1967 till 1969, he also submitted a project about the renovation of the “Halles” area in Paris (underground forum).

During the Seventies, he made a last trip to Brazil in order to sell his house and to prepare a new exhibition of his works.

In 1972
Although H. SAJOUS’s skills and abilities were undoubtly well known, all the steps he had been undertaking for the last twelve years remained unsuccessful. He felt so disappointed that he gave up and got retired in Nice, at “L’Arcadia” building, in Napoléon Bouldevard. He lived there until he died, in 1975.


On July 5th, 1975, H. SAJOUS died  the way he had always wished, i.e. while sleeping. His last words were “I’m sleeping”.


Marie Christine Sajous Clause