Le Bagatelle de Bagatelle

 

A “Hole” by Karl Unnasch for the Walker Art Center’s 2013 Artist-Designed Mini-Golf Course

in Minneapolis, MN

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May through September 2013

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Le Bagatelle de Bagatelle

 

The Unnasch mini-golf hole, designed as a game board known as a bagatelle, is a tribute to the pivotal history where parlor games of skill developed into gambling games of chance in an era of opulence and excess.  In Paris of 1777 the fabulous Chateau de Bagatelle was conceived on a bet between the Comte d’Artois and his sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette.  With over 900 workers and craftsmen working around the clock, d’Artois’ Chateau and its gardens were to be constructed within 64 days.

 

Marie lost the bet.

 

D’Artois, a gambler, courtesan dandy, womanizer and all-around playboy showcased in this very building a new parlor game that borrowed elements from other games including billiards, Trou Madame, and 9-holes.  This new game was a complex blend of skill and chance and offered the young prince and his courtesans the opportunity to win and lose small fortunes.  The Comte d’Artois unveiled this new game (named after the property) and “Le Bagatelle” quickly became a hit amongst his friends and cronies.

 

Le Bagatelle de Bagatelle is a working golf ball bagatelle game.  The putter lines up to the ball entry gate.  With the proper skill one sends the golf ball up the ramp to

the top arch of the game board.  As the ball enters one of the rear windows of the Chateau, it plinks about until it exits either through the central doorway or the surrounding front windows.  

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The ball then ricochets through the garden area of the scaled-down Chateau grounds, having the opportunity to nudge the swan pond spinner as it passes through.  The topiary, statuary and secret garden wall sections offer final scoring.  The golf ball returns to the base near the putting green for easy access and tallying.  Par is 1-4 with the opportunity to reduce par depending upon the spinner results.

 

Good luck!

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