Provence has long been celebrated by painters and writers expressing its  sensual climate, the diversity of the landscapes and beauty of the Mediterranean.  In 2009, two exceptional exhibits will take place in Aix-en-Provence and in Antibes.   A perceptive touring itinerary has been put together to help visitors discover Picasso in Provence Côte d'Azur. The Regional Tourism Boards for Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Riviera Côte d’Azur, the Bouches du Rhône County Tourism Board and the Aix-en-Provence Tourism Office invite you to discover this imaginative path, to follow it, share it and enjoy to the fullest.    Provence and the Côte d’Azur played an essential role in Picasso’s tumultuous life.  The creation, love, friendship and death of the great Spanish artist in these powerful  lands continue to be felt through the prism of Picasso’s perusal.

PICASSO A MEDITERRANEAN SOUL

Just outside of Avignon, in the town of Sorgues, Picasso and Braque, who shared friendship and a passion for painting brought together, worked together on figurative deconstruction, following a path pioneered by Paul Cézanne. In 1912, Picasso composed his first Arlésienne, the feminine figure emblematic of Provence, a source of fascination.

Each new love affair brought new art models. Photos by Lucien Clergue express Picasso’s attachment for Arles and the effervescence of the bullfights, reminiscent of his native Spain. Picasso was also a frequent visitor to Saint Tropez, where he drew the famous Odalisque. The city of Cannes became his primary residence in 1955. It was here, in his vast studio, that major works such as the series devoted to the Meninas, came into existence. And Picasso’s exploration of ceramic art took place in Vallauris.

Here, he worked at the Ramié studio, and produced a major body of work. The great house called Notre Dame de Vie, in Mougins was his last place of residence and work.

Picasso is buried at the château in Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence.  There are five museums in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region which display works by Picasso in their permanent collections. Discover drawings, paintings, ceramics, and even a vaulted chapel ceiling, in Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Vallauris and Antibes.

The itinerary suggestions herein take the visitor from exhibitions to spaces where Picasso lived and worked – and subtly reveal just how and why Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur is so inspirational to artists… Present-day painters, sculptors, artists, ceramicists and photographers, themselves drawn by the light and the diversity of the landscapes, can benefit from the courses and opportunities that await them in the studios of the artists in the region.

To round out this attentive, artistic trail through the landscapes of Provence, we have also listed some of the cultural events which will be taking place in 2009 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur towns and villages which Picasso had loved. Handy addresses indicate comfortable guest rooms, charming hotels and good restaurants which lie along the way, in totally harmony with the arts...

And some ideas for theme stays to provide direction to the Picasso in Provence Côte d’Azur route between Avignon and Antibes Juan-les-Pins. From Provence to the Riviera, many different circuits lay out insightful steps that lead you to better understand the life and work of a painter who chose this southern French region to create, work, love and die.

Two Exceptional Events

An exhibition at the Granet Museum in Aix en Provence and the opening of the Château de Vauvenargues where Picasso is buried.

PICASSO - CEZANNE

Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence

May 25 to September 27,  2009

The exhibition focus is to demonstrate Cézanne’s major influence on modern and contemporary art, and in particular on Picasso, one of the world’s greatest 20th-century artists. Picasso often said that his entire life was spent on a journey with Cézanne. Granet Museum will be displaying one hundred works, 70 by Picasso, and 30 by Cézanne. Paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints will be displayed, shedding light on Picasso’s major references, his sources of reflection and his meditations concerning Cézanne, his choice of an artistic “father”.

The works in the exhibit come from all over the world – public collections from France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the United States, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, and from private collections.

There are four parts to the exhibition, structured to enable the visitor to better understand the very special relationship Picasso felt with Cézanne and to evoke the depth and complexity of Picasso’s work.

• Picasso looks at Cézanne: from the arrival in Paris in 1900 to the end of the Cubist adventure;

• Picasso collects Cézanne: expert collector, Picasso had three masterpieces by Cézanne in his private collection;

• Shared subjects and shapes: compotiers, skulls, bathers, models in an armchair, Harlequin;

Picasso draws closer to Cézanne: acquisition of the Château, the so-called Vauvenargues period and its masterpieces, Portrait de Jacqueline, the Henri II buffet series or still lives, beginning of the Déjeuners sur l’herbe series.

Granet Museum, Place Saint-Jean-de-Malte – 13100 Aix-en-Provence

  Follow this link to visit the Granet Museum online. . . 

AN UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY AT CHATEAU DE VAUVENARGUES

Thanks to Catherine Hutin, daughter of Jacqueline Picasso and current owner of the château de Vauvenargues, the château will open its doors to the public for the first time, from May 27 to September 25, 2009.  Visits require advance reservations and will take place in groups of 19 persons. The intimate atmosphere of Pablo Picasso’s private home pervades the visit, which enters the most important rooms in the lives of Pablo and Jacqueline Picasso. Visitors can see the studio where he created several of his masterpieces, the dining room, the bedroom, and the bathroom where Picasso painted, directly on the wall above the bathtub, the figure of a faune. The château will be able to host 40,000 persons in all during the temporary opening.

PICASSO 1945-1949: THE ERA OF RENEWAL

Picasso Museum in Antibes 

March 27 to June 29,  2009

Come springtime 2009, Antibes Juan-Les-Pins will be celebrating the metamorphosis of its Picasso museum with an exceptional exhibit entitled Picasso 1945 – 1949: The Era of Renewal.  The 150 works on display, some of which have never been displayed in Antibes before, come partly from the Museum’s collections, partly from private collections.   Picasso Museum, Château Grimaldi - 06600 Antibes,

  To visit the Picasso Museum online please follow this link . . .

WHERE TO SEE WORKS BY PICASSO IN PROVENCE COTE D’AZUR

Works by Picasso can be seen at all times in five museums in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Discover drawings, paintings, ceramics, and the vault of a chapel in Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Vallauris and Antibes.

ANGLADON MUSEUM IN AVIGNON

The Angladon Museum, one of the most recent new museums in Avignon, opened its doors in 1996. The museum came into being through the legacy from a couple, Jean and Paulette Angladon-Dubrujeaud, both painters themselves and heirs of the famous Parisian couturier and collector, Jacques Doucet. Their home and its collections became the Angladon Museum, which displays works by major artists from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The museum’s collections, outstanding in both quality and consistency, cover modern painting and the decorative arts.

The ground floor is devoted to modern works, with paintings by masters from the late 19th century, including Van Gogh, Cézanne and Vuillard. Works by Modigliani, Foujita and Picasso are displayed in a small room dedicated to art from the 1920’s. On the upper floor, visitors can discover the couple’s collections from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The red room holds works from the 17th century. There are also Far Eastern objects, paintings by Joseph Vernet, and beautiful period furniture. 

  The Angladon Museum, 5, rue Laboureur - 84000 Avignon

REATTU MUSEUM IN ARLES

With its impressive façade lining the banks of the Rhône, the Réattu museum stands among the major historical monuments in the city of Arles. The building went up in the late 16th century, built by the Knights of the Order of Malta to house their Grand Priory. Bought by local collector and artist Jacques Réattu in 1801, the priory is now the Fine Arts museum and displays a wide range of works, including paintings by Jacques Réattu, modern and contemporary artists such as Zadkine, Alechinsky and collections of photographs by Henri-Cartier Bresson and Edward Weston.

The Réattu Museum displays 2 paintings and 57 works on paper that Picasso gave to Arles in 1971. With the drawings, which are a type of journal, Picasso takes us through three themes - Harlequin, the Painter and his model, and The Musketeer, half hidalgo half matador. The Réattu also displays two Picasso paintings: Portrait de Maria (Picasso’s mother) from 1923 and given by Jacqueline Picasso in 1985 and Portrait of Lee Miller as an Arlésienne, painted in 1937. 

The Réattu Museum, 10, rue du Grand Prieuré - 13200 Arles
 

GRANET MUSEUM IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE

The Granet Museum reopened in late June 2007 and has hosted record crowds since the “Cézanne in Provence” exhibition. With over 60,000 visitors from every part of France and the world, the Cézanne exhibit indeed launched the museum’s renaissance. Such figures indeed illustrate that the Granet Museum’s collections draw interested crowds and show that the museum is an important part of the local cultural scene. Collections are highly varied, covering archaeology in Entremont to modern works by Tal Coat, Giacometti and Picasso.

Granet Museum reaches out to every kind of audience, including children, school groups, hearing and sight impaired.   Granet Museum is proud of its extraordinary collection entitled “From Cézanne to Giacometti”. Part of an acquisition made in the late 20th century by the collector Philippe Meyer who then donated it to the French state, the series is entirely devoted to 20th century modern art masters, with one work by Picasso, nineteen paintings, sculptures and drawings by Alberto Giacometti created between 1940 and 1969, and works by Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Balthus, Giorgio Morandi, Bram van Velde, Nicolas de Staël and Tal Coat. 

The Granet Museum, Place Saint-Jean-de-Malte – 13 100 Aix-en-Provence,

THE NATIONAL PICASSO MUSEUM  “War and Peace” in Vallauris

The War and Peace works by Picasso were installed the chapel at the château de Vallauris in 1959.  Picasso made the choice of using the chapel within the scope of his project of a Temple to Peace. This went along with a strong movement in the 1950’s that rediscovered sacred art.  Matisse was just finishing the decoration of the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, and Marc Chagall was beginning his work on the monumental Biblical Message, which he had originally intended for another chapel in Vence, before donating it to France. Pablo Picasso, aware of the profound symbolism of the chapel, and attracted by the strict proportions of the severe château, chose the chapel for his work. The ancient building provided War and Peace – with its clear references to ancient art, event cave art, with a solid, universal foundation.  War and Peace was the last major political composition Picasso created. The work was finished in 1952 and installed in the chapel in 1954. 

National Museum “La Guerre and La Paix”, Place de la libération, Vallauris

PICASSO MUSEUM IN ANTIBES

“If you want to see the Picassos from Antibes, you have to see
them in Antibes”. Pablo Picasso

The Picasso Museum lies atop what was the acropolis of the ancient Greek city of Antipolis. It is housed in the château where the Grimaldi family settled in 1385. The Grimaldi château was purchased in 1925 by the city of Antibes and became the Grimaldi museum under its first curator, Romuald Dor de la Souchère. Three years later, the building was classified as a historical monument.

In 1946, Romuald Dor de la Souchère offered part of the chateau to Picasso, who was living in Golfe Juan, for his use as a studio.  Picasso worked there several months, creating works on paper and paintings, including “Les Clés d’Antibes” on one wall of the studio. Upon leaving, Pablo Picasso left the city of Antibes with 23 paintings (house paint, charcoal, graphite on fibrocement, re-used wood or canvas) and 44 drawings. The paintings include La Joie de vivre, Satyr, Faune and centaure au trident, The Sea-urchin eater, the Goat…

The Picasso room was officially inaugurated in September 1947, and the new Picasso show: Ceramics – Paintings – Drawings opened to the public in September 1948. The museum also had the collection of 77 ceramics created at the Madoura studio in Vallauris. Tanagra à l’amphore, Taureau debout, Chouette ovoïde, Échassier, Condor, Cabri couché are some of the best known of these works.

Antibes paid tribute to Picasso in making him an honorary citizen of Antibes in February 1957.  In December 1966, the Grimaldi château officially became the Picasso Museum, the first devoted to his work.  Other works were acquired and donated between 1952 and 2001. In particular, the 1990 Jacqueline Picasso donation significantly added to the collections.

The Picasso Museum also displays work by Nicolas de Staël and shows artists from the major trends in 20th century art, including Arman, Atlan, Balthus, Buraglio, César, Dezeuze, Ernst,  Gleizes, Hans, Hartung, Klein, Magnelli, Music, Pagès, Picabia, Pincemin, Raysse, Spoerri and Viallat. Sculptures by Germaine Richier, Joan Miró, Bernard Pagès, Anne and Patrick Poirier are on permanent display on the museum’s terrace.

The renovated Picasso Museum emphasizes its contemporary focus, yet has preserved the spirit of the strong archaeological memory which infuses the building. The architectural project thus has a double approach – encompassing the history of the building yet providing the best conditions for conservation of the works and reception of the public.

The newly renovated spaces have been organized as follows:

  • Ground floor: the Hans Hartung donation

  • 1st floor: temporary exhibitions and display of the Nicolas de Staël collection

  • 2nd floor: presentation of the Picasso collection and the Picasso studio space.

Picasso Museum, Château Grimaldi - 06600 Antibes

 

Illustration above: P.Picasso, Jacqueline assise dans un fauteuil, 1964 (huile sur toile, 194,7x130cm), collection particulière, photo Claude Germain -ImageArt©Succession Picasso 2009

CREATION, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP & DEATH IN PROVENCE

Avignon became the capital of Christianity in the Middle Ages, and is still home to the prestigious monuments inherited from its illustrious past. The Palace of the Popes, ranked by UNESCO as World Heritage, is the largest Gothic palace in Europe. The Angladon Museum displays works by Picasso, who summered near Avignon, in the town of Sorgues, for three years in the 1910’s. Picasso also summered in the beautiful village of Ménerbes in 1946. He gave one of the most beautiful houses in Ménerbes to Dora Maar at their separation. The beauty and light of Ménerbes, with its stunning views over the Luberon, continue to attract artists from many horizons. The Picasso itinerary continues with the Baux de Provence, with its château and old noble houses, built atop a rocky plateau. Near Les Baux de Provence, carved out of old bauxite quarries, stands the Cathédrale d’images which projects immense slide shows on the natural white rock screens. This is where Cocteau’s film Le Testament d’Orphée was shot, in which Picasso played a painter. Next, an important stop at the gateway to Camargue, in Arles, with its great Roman heritage, and strong Spanish atmosphere due to the bullfighting culture, which continues to draw aficionados as it did Picasso. The Réattu Museum displays the 2 paintings and 57 drawings that Picasso left to the city in 1971. This outstanding donation reflects Picasso’s love of bullfighting and Arles, and the irresistible attraction of the presence of Van Gogh.

The next step in the itinerary is Aix-en-Provence, a city of flowing fountains, a city of art.  Colour and sensations are strong here. The golden-hued stone reflects the glimmering sun, and the dappled shade, the mossy worn stone and crystal clarity of the play of water in the fountains, and the chic festival nights all contribute to Aix’s very special atmosphere.

The Picasso-Cézanne exhibit in 2009 follows the highly successful Cézanne en Provence displayed at the Granet Museum in Aix en Provence in 2006.  In 1958, Picasso bought the château de Vauvenargues at the foot of Sainte Victoire mountain, the emblematic subject of Cézanne’s art. In talking with his dealer, Picasso said: “I have just bought Cézanne’s Sainte-Victoire”. “Which one?” replied the dealer. “The original" was Picasso’s answer… The château will open to the public for the first time in 2009. Thus at the age of 77, Picasso acquired a “life-size Cézanne”, and at his death was buried in the garden of the château. However, the Picasso itinerary continues, and takes visitors to Aubagne, city of ceramics, and birthplace of Marcel Pagnol. The Garlaban hills and Sainte Baume mountain overlook Aubagne, where the art of clay that Picasso loved so continues to thrive.

On to Saint Tropez, where Picasso drew the Odalisque in 1951. A summer must for celebrities, a year-round haven for sailors, Saint Tropez remains an authentic Provencal village, a small fishing port, a town of many facets and infinite charm. 

The geography and climate of the Côte d’Azur have long attracted artists. Writers, painters, photographers, film directors and actors appreciate the lifestyle, the light and the freedom inherent in this legendary destination. In 1955, Picasso settled in Cannes, in the chic residential area called La Californie. He worked with French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, (The Wages of Fear) on Le Mystère Picasso, a film short which became a feature film, at the Victorine Studios in Nice. The town of Mougins was Picasso’s last residence. He moved there in 1961 with Jacqueline, into a large house called L’antre du Minotaure (the Minotaur’s haunt).

Picasso died here in 1973. In the heart of Mougins lies the André Villers photography museum (Le musée de la photographie – André Villers) which displays many photos which capture the friendship which linked the two. Vallauris is another village marked by Picasso’s presence.

Picasso’s last great political composition, War and Peace, was installed in the Vallauris château in 1959. The summer of 1947 is when Picasso threw himself into ceramics, leaving Juan-les- Pins each day to go up to Vallauris and work at the Atelier Madoura, with the Ramié family, in Vallauris. Picasso made over 4,000 original works, many of which are displayed at the Picasso Museum in Antibes. Antibes Juan-les-Pins acknowledged the great master during his lifetime with the supreme tribute of a museum in his name.

Antibes-Juan les Pins is superb site, a walled city overlooking the Mediterranean, a city of sailors and artists with a real Provencal flair. The lifestyle here and the sheer freedom made this seaside town a draw for artists and free spirits from the world over: jazzmen, writers, painters and millionaires all contributed to making Antibes an exceptional place.

FROM AVIGNON to ANTIBES-JUAN-LES-PINS, A DISCERNING
TOURING ITINERARY IN PICASSO’S FOOTSTEPS

AVIGNON

Avignon – a spiritual, political, economic and cultural capital, with outstanding architectural and artistic heritage, home to the greatest Gothic ensemble in Europe. The Palace of the Popes exemplifies the magnificence of its past. Today, Avignon is ranked as UNESCO World Heritage.

In 1970 and 1973, two Picasso exhibits were held in the Palace of the Popes. The first, in 1970, introduced Picasso’s work to thousands of visitors. The second opened in May 1973, six weeks after Picasso’s death. The exhibit displayed 201 works in the grand chapel at the Palace of the Popes and was continued until 1974. 

Picasso chose to spend the summer in Avignon in 1914 so as not to be far from his friends, Braque in Sorgues and Derain in Montfavet. Avignon inspired Picasso who began a fecund period. He painted two large canvases, including a portrait of a young girl which combined several techniques including collage and trompe l’oeil. He worked on magnificent still lives, including the Green Still Life, on drawings and many assemblages. On  July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and on August  2  France joined the fray.

That same day, Picasso took Braque and Derain to the Avignon train station, as they left to reach the front. Picasso, who was Spanish, was not called up. Though he made no public statements, he expressed a dark mood through his work. He painted the nationalist, cubist still life Carte à jouer, with two French flags and the statement “Vive la France”. In the following years, Picasso often returned to Avignon for short visits.

SORGUES

The large public square around the Town Hall of Sorgues, an impressive large white building, leads to many small streets which wind through the historical village centre. Several fountains embellish the roundabouts and village squares. Here and there in Sorgues one can see vestiges from the old ramparts and towers. 

EXPERIMENTS AND FRIENDSHIP

In late June 1912, Picasso chose Sorgues as a place to “get away from it all”, far from the effervescent activity that buzzed all around him ever since he and Braque had started the Cubist movement. Accompanied by his latest love, Eva Gouel, he settled in “Les Clochettes”, where Georges and Marcelle Braque joined him, also in search of peace and quiet. The tranquility of the small village of Sorgues stimulated the artists and breathed new air into their creations. Braque wrote that he felt freer to “try new things that can’t be done in Paris”.

Sorgues became a true experimental laboratory.

Picasso worked on the Arlésienne, a Cubist work, the first in a long series. Later, in 1937, Picasso again worked on this emblematic figure of Provence, and returned to it in 1958, when the Arlésienne took on the features of his companion Jacqueline. Like Van Gogh and Gauguin before him, Picasso was fascinated by the beautiful women and their stunning geometrical, colourful way of dressing, that he had seen in the streets in Arles. Women were omnipresent in Picasso’s life and work, and influenced his creations. Picasso often changed styles with each new love affair, and used the women in his life as his models.

In early August Picasso and Braque went to Marseille for some African objects that were in fashion in sophisticated circles. The trip to Marseille inspired Picasso. Upon returning to Sorgues, he created “Guitar, bottle of Pernod and glass” directly on the wall at the Villa Les Clochettes. Braque was working in new directions. He created his first collages, incorporating pieces of wallpaper with fake wood texture in “Compotier and glass”. Picasso loved the idea and took it over. The two friends added newspaper, sheet music, sand and other objects to their works.

MENERBES

Approaching Ménerbes by the winding road from Les Beaumettes, the village appears on the rocky plateau above the vines like a ship on the sea. Splendid old stone homes cover the rock foundation, the citadel juts out at the bow, the fortress looks like the stern. The massive fortress was once the home of painter Nicolas de Staël. Ménerbes continues to inspire artists.  The carved doors, cobblestone streets, medieval and Renaissance architecture, old stone washing well and other captivating details never cease to amaze. John Rewald, the world specialist on Cézanne, often stayed in Ménerbes. 

Link to Provence Guide    

In exchange for a drawing, Picasso became the owner of a magnificent home in Ménerbes which he later gave to Dora Maar after their break-up. Ménerbes is where Picasso brought Françoise Gilot on holiday, in July 1946. This relationship, which started in 1943, ended ten years later, and produced two children, Claude and Paloma. Françoise Gilot wrote about her life with Picasso in her 1964 book Vivre avec Picasso.

LES BAUX-DE-PROVENCE

The village of the Baux de Provence stands tall and haughty on a rocky spur 245 meters above sea level. The High Middle Ages was the period of glory for Les Baux whose court and troubadours were known far and wide. After a long period of troubled times, Les Baux came back to life under the Connétable de Montmorency who introduced the Renaissance style in the architecture at Les Baux. Today, Les Baux is one of the most popular sites in France. Visitors can enter the château, the town houses and museums, the old quarries…

Nearby, the “Cathédrale d’Images” projects immense images on the white rock walls which form natural screens approximately 4000 m² in size. The 2009 show pays tribute to Picasso.

Link to Les Baux de Provence  

Picasso had little to do with the world of cinema, however he did work in a few films. In 1959 he played a painter in the film made by his friend Jean Cocteau, in the Testament of Orpheus.  Cocteau acts in the film too, alongside a galaxy of celebrities such as Marlène Dietrich, Jean Marais, Maria Casarès, Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Sagan... Cocteau’s film was shot in the stunning setting of the Cathédrale d’images and the Baux-de-Provence.

ARLES

Arles is a very special combination of ancient Roman presence, strong Spanish atmosphere in the bullfights, and the gateway to Camargue. Arles was founded in 46 BC by Jules Caesar, and given the name Arelate. After Rome, Arles is the city with the most Roman monuments in the world. UNESCO has ranked seven monuments and sites in Arles as World Heritage sites since 1981. 

Link to Tourisme Arles

STRONGLY ATTACHED TO ARLES

Picasso often came to Arles, which reminded him of his native Spain. A passionate aficionado, Picasso frequently attended the bullfights in Arles. Photographs by Lucien Clergue show Picasso in the front row at the bullfights in the Roman amphitheatre. Picasso was very close to Arles, and gave the city 57 drawings in 1971. Two paintings were later added by Jacqueline Picasso, who donated the Portrait of the artist’s mother and later the Portrait of Lee Miller as an Arlésienne.

The figure of the Arlésienne shows up in Picasso’s work as of 1912 and depictions of the Roman amphitheatre in Arles in 1960 bear witness to Picasso’s longstanding attachment to the city.

VAUVENARGUES

Lying just between the Var and Bouches du Rhône counties, Vauvenargues stretches at the base of the north side of the Saint Victoire range. The valley around the village has retained its peaceful, unspoiled character. There are lovely walks to be had along the hiking paths which go through Vauvenargues. (Due to the fire risk in summer, the area is protected during July and August). Outside of the village, nestled in a sea of greenery, the château de Vauvenargues stands at the entrance to the valley. The turbulent history of the château goes back to the Counts of Provence. In 1722 King Louis XV raised the château of Vauvenargues and its land to the status of a marquisate, in his gratitude to Joseph de Clapier, heroic consul of Aix during the 1720 plague.  

 Link to Château de Vauvenargues

A LIFE-SIZE CEZANNE

Picasso heard about the château de Vauvenargues for the first time during a dinner at Douglas Cooper and John Richardson’s home at the château de Castille. During conversation, Cooper informed Picasso that near Aix-en-Provence, in the little village of Vauvenargues, there was a splendid château for sale. The very next day, Picasso was driven there. As they drove past Saint Victoire, Picasso was astounded to see the landscapes in Cézanne’s paintings come to life.

Picasso immediately fell for the majestic, austere château, flanked by round towers and surrounded by 14th-century fortifications. At the age of 77, Picasso gave himself a life-size Cézanne: Saint Victoire mountain framed in the windows of the château de Vauvenargues.

During his first stay at the château in January 1959, Picasso painted Femme nue sous un pin where the disarticulated sculptural contours match the movement on Saint Victoire. Between March and August 1960, he made Les déjeuners sur l’herbe after Manet. During the 1950 – 1963 period, he explored the works by the great masters - Les femmes d’Alger by Delacroix,

Les demoiselles du bord de la Seine by Courbet, Les Meninas by Vélasquez.  The Vauvenargues period is marked by a return to the Spanish influence which plunged his work in an austere, severe atmosphere. Picasso created assemblages in tones of dark greens and reds, or worked with ochre outlined in black. Colour sometimes flowed out from the black borders, as if escaping from the confinement of the shape. Picasso left the in April 1961. He was buried there, next to his wife Jacqueline, under the statue of La femme au vase.

Exceptional – and temporary: The château will be opened to the public from  May 27 to September 25, 2009. Advanced reservations are required for the visit, which admits nineteen persons every half-hour.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE

The rich historical past of the Roman city of Aquae Sextiae has left outstanding Baroque and Classical architecture. Cours Mirabeau and the surrounding streets display the splendour of the Baroque era – there are more than 160 city mansions designed by architects from Italy, Flanders, Paris and elsewhere, to be discovered in the old streets of Aix. Public buildings went up in a city planned around French-style squares, and fountains paid homage to the former Roman city known as the “Waters of Sextius”. Noble town houses had courtyards for their coaches, inspired by Italy.

Link to Aix en Provence Tourism  

In 1958, Picasso came to the Pavillon Vendôme to see thirty of his works on display there, lent by his friend the collector Marie Cuttoli. Picasso also spent long moments at the terrace of the Deux garçons brasserie and attended the Aix Festival of Lyrical Art in the company of his friends, musicians Henri Sauguet and Francis Poulenc.

SAINT-TROPEZ

Saint Tropez remains the place to be seen for celebrities, a great fishing and sailing port, and a beautiful old Provencal village which delights lovers of history, art and architecture. Saint Tropez has countless facets to its character, and infinite charm.  www.ot-saint-tropez.com

Picasso started coming to Saint Tropez in 1916, and made regular visits. He loved the “Quartier de la Ponche" and enjoyed contemplating the gulf and the open sea from la Ponche. In 1951, he spent the summer in Saint Tropez. He lived on Rue des Bouchonniers, in an apartment lent by his friend Paul Eluard, with his mistress, young Geneviève Laporte. In Saint Tropez, he painted several portraits and nudes of her including the famous Odalisque. After Françoise Gilot left Picasso in 1953, Geneviève Laporte refused to go back to him, and this was the end of their passionate affair. Geneviève Laporte also wrote a book about their life together, entitled Si tard le soir le soleil brille (1973).

CANNES

Cannes was originally a modest Mediterranean village peopled by fishermen and monks. The history of Cannes is inextricably linked with the history of the Lerins Islands of Saint Marguerite and Saint Honorat.

Cannes was a small community during the Middle Ages and grew slowly under the Ancien Regime. Real growth in Cannes occurred during the 19th century, due to Lord Henry Brougham and Vaux, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. He settled in Cannes and attracted the English and European aristocracy, who built sumptuous residences for their winter stays. Today, Cannes is a thriving city, with the International Film Festival, starlets and sequins, yachts, stars and many international meetings and conventions.   

Link to Cannes Tourism 

A STUDIO WITH A VIEW

In 1955 Saint Tropez became Picasso’s primary residence. Picasso purchased the sumptuous La Californie home built in 1900 with a stunning view of the Cannes waterfront. The immense living room became both his studio and the place to host visitors. Many major works were started in this studio, including the series devoted to Les Meninas (1957), his homage to Vélasquez and sign of his attachment to his native Spain. Life at La Californie was the subject of excellent photographs by André Villers, Edward Quinn and Douglas Duncan.

MOUGINS

Just 15 minutes from Cannes, the superb medieval village of Mougins is surrounded by forests.   Perched 260 metres above sea level, Mougins offers a breathtaking view of the Cannes bay, Lerins Islands, Grasse and the Prealpes. In the late 19th century, Mougins was drawing many celebrities from the art world, including Cocteau, Paul Eluard, Man Ray, Brel, Piaf, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Fernand Léger, Picabia…. Today Mougins combines the pleasures of golf, gastronomy, beautiful hotels and art …

Within the framework of Côte d’Azur des Peintres, the gardens at the chapel Notre Dame de Vie shows a reproduction of Paysage de Mougins II by Picasso, displayed on one of the 60 stands which show the 60 works in the circuit that follows in the footsteps of the great artists on the Côte d’Azur. 

  Link to Mougins Cote Azur 

LAST RESIDENCE

Mougins had been the site of the love affair between Picasso and Dora Maar from 1936 to 1939. In 1961, he moved into the large house Notre Dame de vie, with Jacqueline Roque whom he married that same year, and with whom he stayed until his death in 1973. On the ground floor, Picasso set up his sculpture studio, and on the upper floor he kept his personal collection.  Today, “Notre Dame de Vie” is referred to as the “Antre du Minotaure”.

VALLAURIS GOLF-JUAN

Vallauris Golfe-Juan is two towns in one – the beauty and pleasure of a family-oriented seaside resort combined with the charm of a well-known city of arts and crafts. Ceramics activity in Vallauris includes many ongoing and temporary exhibitions, and is a special feature of the town, both in terms of its heritage and current artistic activity. 

  Vallauris Golfe-Juan 

PASSION FOR CERAMICS

Picasso discovered the art of ceramics through the work by Georges and Suzanne Ramié, owners of the Madoura studio. In summer of 1947, Picasso went to their studio and tried his own hand at ceramics techniques. Picasso was drawn by the intellectual effervescence which was strong in Vallauris, and decided to settle there, opening his own studio in 1949 in a former perfume shop. This Fournas studio provided Picasso with all the space he needed to paint (Massacres en Corée, Fumées à Vallauris…) and for his assemblage sculptures (La chèvre, Petite fille sautant à la corde…). He produced over 4000 ceramics works. Part of his production is displayed at the Picasso Museum in Antibes.

The "Picasso effect" on Vallauris was amazing. Many painters, sculptors and ceramicists came to settle in the town. Today Vallauris continues to retain traces of Picasso’s time here. On the church square, just in front of the entrance to the national Picasso museum called La Guerre and la Paix, stands the statue of L’Homme au mouton. Picasso considered this statue, made in 1943, as one of his most important works. It is true that Picasso’s sculpted work very seldom portrayed masculine characters, and even less symbolic allusions.

Many preparatory sketches preceded L’Homme au mouton, and show the search for the right movement, the position of the sheep in the shepherd’s arms. Yet the work was brought forth from the clay in just one day. The carefully balanced man recalls certain of Rodin’s sculptures, such as the Crucifixion (1930).

Picasso’s two works War and Peace, his last great political composition, were installed in the chapel at the Vallauris château de Vallauris in 1959.

ANTIBES JUAN LES PINS

Well before 1900, the beauty, calm and luminosity of the pine trees and beaches in the Antibes area had long appealed to illustrious visitors. Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in Antibes, as did George Sand and Gustave Flaubert. Maupassant and Jules Verne stayed in Antibes to write, and following Meissonnier, the Impressionists - Monet, Dufy, Boudin – all set up their easels here. Artists continue to wend their way to Antibes, discovering in the play of colour and shadow matter for inspiration: Van Dongen was among the first – when the Casino des Sables opened in Juan-les-Pins, he painted the portrait of the famous dancers, the Dolly Sisters. Van Dongen was followed by Picasso, Picabia, Man Ray, Chagall, Nicolas de Staël and Hans Hartung.

Writers and poets shared in the enthusiasm for the beauty of Antibes, great American expatriates in the 1920’s, such as Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Hemingway…, and Europeans - Tristan Tzara, Louis Aragon, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Prévert, Graham Greene…

Today, Juan-Les-Pins retains a welcoming, warm spirit, and hosts the renowned Festival de Jazz. Cap d’Antibes remains one of the quintessential images of the natural beauty of the Côte d’Azur. 

Link to Antibes Juan-Les-Pins

JOIE DE VIVRE AND CREATIVITY

In August 1946, after having spent the month of July in Ménerbes, Picasso and Françoise Gilot went to Golf Juan. Picasso was not painting a great deal at the time, he was drawing still lives, women, flowers and butterflies. Above all, he was swimming and enjoying the sun on the nearly deserted beaches. The war was over, Picasso was happy, in love, and the month of August was a blissful time that lasted all too briefly.

Romuald Dor de la Souchère, curator at the Antibes Museum, suggested to Picasso the use of part of the museum as a studio. Picasso was delighted. The place was very pleasant, the light beautiful. The windows looked out over the old city and the winding medieval streets, the tiled roofs, the port, the bay and the mountains in the distance. The situation contributed to a period of peace and happiness. Picasso undertook a vast lyrical poem, a hymn to life, called La joie de vivre, an Eden-like landscape showing Françoise Gilot dancing nude on the beach. The allegresse of the times was also expressed in the smiles drawn on the centaurs, the nymphs and the pacified satyrs, in the simple lines, the very spare volumes, the calm, mild colours which referred back to the subjects of his neo-classical period. These references to mythology, hardly in keeping with aesthetic ideal of the communists, caused concern with the communist party, of which Picasso was a member.

After this stay, Picasso left 44 drawings and 23 paintings (done with house paint, charcoal, and graphite on fibrocement, reused wood and canvas) on deposit with the city of Antibes. Among the most famous paintings were La Joie de vivre, Satyr, faune and centaure au trident and the Goober d’oursins. The drawings included the Suite Antipolis, Têtes de faune, Études pour une figure féminine, …