from La Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval: Quand le songe devient la réalité by Jean-Pierre Jouve, Claude Prevost, & Clovis Prevost, A.R.I.E. éditions, 1981 (1994 edition) French language
Farmer, baker, and postman, Ferdinand Cheval dreamt of building his Palais Idéal (Ideal Palace) for twleve years prior to actually undertaking the project, which absorbed thirty-three years of his life. Inspired in 1879 by the chance discovery of an extraordinary piece of sandstone, Cheval, completely unschooled in building, resolved to become a mason and architect in order to utilize what he later referred to as nature's sculpture. On his postal rounds in the southeastern village of Hauterives (France), he collected stones of odd and fanciful shapes, transporting them home first in his pockets and later by wheelbarrow to be used in his construction. (from Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art, LACMA/Princeton, 1992)
Andre Bréton called him the "undisputed master of mediumistic sculpture and architecture".