The painting in the hall and the mosaics (1992) on the floor of the railway station are the work of Jacques Cesa. Covering an area of more than 300 m2, the frescoes on the bus station walls were made in 1990 by Jacques Cesa, Georges Corpataux, Pierre-André Despond, Dominique Gex, Jacques Rime and Daniel Savary. They depict La Gruyère by day and by night.
The Bulle-Romont railway line was inaugurated in 1868. It connected the administrative centre of the district of La Gruyère to the Lausanne-Berne main line (1862). The Châtel-Bulle-Montbovon, Châtel-Palézieux and Bulle-Broc regional lines were built at the beginning of the 20th century by Les Chemins de Fer Electriques de La Gruyère (CEG). Plans for the creation of a Bulle-Fribourg line, aired in 1912, remained on the drawing board. Today’s railway and bus stations were built by Les Transports Publics Fribourgeois (TPF) between 1987 and 1992. Several works of art were created by regional artists to mark the occasion. Below is the explanatory text written at the time by Jacques Cesa, an artist from Bulle and a member of the station’s artistic committee:
Bus station, train station; where the stars intersect at the junction of the Great Bear, I have dreamt since childhood of a beautiful, brightly painted station, resembling a canvas by Fernand Léger with its wealth of railway signals and signposts.
The pure beauty of the materials, station workers - railwaymen and technicians - merged by the artist with the colourful comings and goings of trains and locomotives...
A vast electronic network at the dawn of the 20th century, like a galaxy; the enduring rails and ballast, pristine and functional; journeys, travel, celebration. And in that boundless network connecting towns, cities and countries, travellers - children, men and women -momentarily pass through the station, carrying happy memories or dreams of holidays, or en route to work, morning and evening; employees, schoolchildren, mothers and their babies visiting the doctor, or pensioners arriving for a Thursday outing in Bulle and a game of cards. A vast network, a grand shop window for an entire region and for our guests, with that unavoidable detour for those on foot: the two stations, a land of stations; the bus station and the railway station.
The owner, architects and designers wished from the very outset to integrate art and artists in their huge undertaking. The presence of art is visible today in the choice of colours and materials.
In both stations, this presence takes the form of paving stones that call to mind the town, with the colour blue for technical parts and yellow for the barriers that guide travellers from one station to the other and on to the car park, and by the use of Burgundy red for signposts.
In the passageway under the rails, the aesthetic is an abstract composition of tiles.
In the bus station, art is present on the large rear wall, painted in acrylic by six artists from La Gruyère directly onto the concrete base: Jacques Rime, Daniel Savary, Dominique Gex, Georges Corpataux, Pierre-André Despond and Jacques Cesa. This fresco, progressing from day to night, from the silvery moon to the midday sun, depicts the district of La Gruyère, vibrant with its abundance of nature. The silence and beauty of the earth; lichen, forests, mountain streams, fallen rocks, banks of snow, clouds; the play of light and shadow in the unending relationship with fish, birds, wild animals and livestock, all life-size, on a par with mankind.
In the railway station, art finds expression in the main hall with its marble floor and granite towers that reach to a ceiling painted with a galaxy of stars at the junction of the Great Bear; the building’s granite facade shimmering in the sun through its veins of stone, copper-coloured in storms as the rain lashes down, with the station clock ever-present to tell the time.
In the restaurant, with its mosaic decor, art is present in the stained-glass window made by the sisters Anne and Marie-Pierre Monférini, depicting the flowers of La Gruyère.
© Musée gruérien
At the beginning of the 20th century, Bulle had two railway stations. On the right, the normal-gauge Bulle-Romont station serving steam locomotives. On the left, the narrow-gauge Palézieux-Montbovon station which catered for electric locomotives. The existence of two buildings was captured in several postcards. Reflecting political tensions of the time, the Bulle-Romont company, which supported the radicals, and Les Chemins de Fer Electriques de La Gruyère (CEG), established by conservatives, were unable to agree on a single station.
Postcard by C. Messaz, Lausanne, circa 1905.