Pablo Ruiz Picasso is one of the most influential artists in the 20th century known for his rich body of works including painting, drawing, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking, stage designing, and writing. He pioneered new artistic movements, invented constructed sculpture, co-invented collage, gained international recognition, and had a huge impact in developing and exploring art. It is safe to say that Pablo Picasso succeeded in clearing the doubt of whatever non-believers of art may have had.
As he grew older, anyone would have expected the Spanish artist to take a break. But not Pablo Picasso! In his mid-60s, he was still on the lookout for a challenge. He felt he hadn’t done enough. Little wonder the Riviera towns in southern France captured his heart and became an undeniable part of his success. The bright light, the blue sea, and the rich history of southern France were a great inspiration for the tenable artist who told great stories from them.
With over four museums springing in the towns where he had lived in, the French Riviera had a lot to say about Pablo Picasso, the great artist that walked and worked through its path.
FRENCH RIVIERA TOWNS WHERE PABLO PICASSO MADE AN IMPACT
Antibes (1939 - 1945)
Picasso found solace in Antibes after the Second World War. During this period, he lived in the Château Grimaldi, now known as the Musée Picasso. The Antibes which was home to the artist for six months provided a great opportunity for him. He painted on the walls and every other surface available in this castle as canvases and paints were in short supply due to the war. Picasso also wrote poetry with many of them untitled except for a date and sometimes location of where it was written.
During his stay, he rescued an injured owl who took great prominence in his art. Picasso who had rescued Ubu as he named it, found a connection with the owl who then served as a muse for the artist dominating most of his artwork.
He donated most of his works to the town of Antibes most notably his painting, the triptych Ulysse et Les Sirènes, La Chèvre (sculpture), and La Joie de vivre. Today, the Château Grimaldi is the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the artist housing numerous archaeological artefacts.
Georges and Suzanne Ramie who owned the Madoura pottery in Vallauris once invited Pablo Picasso to their studio while he was at Antibes. As a lover of art, Picasso was immediately intrigued by this city of artistic and contemporary ceramic art so much that it influenced his decision to move to Vallauris a year later.
While in Vallauris, he experimented with clay for the first time, under the tutelage of Suzanne. Over time, he became so immersed in pottery, so much that he painted the main chapel with surrealistic art.
A lot of times, Picasso would pick out discarded rubbish from a dumping ground and take them to his studio for use, mostly incorporating the rubbish into his work. Over a few years, Picasso created over 4000 ceramic artworks from the rubbish of others and was involved in so many collaborations with Suzanne. A remarkable work of his is a diptych titled “War and Peace” installed in the chapel of the Château de Vallauris.
Vauvenargues (1959 - 1961)
In 1958, Pablo moved to the Vauvenargues where he produced many notable artworks. The Château he lived in was surrounded by mountains which brought great delight to him, one of them being because his artistic father, Paul Cézanne, immortalized the mountains in his paintings countlessly.
Also, the place was located at the foothill of the mountain, Mont Sainte-Victoire, an isolated place that provided him with maximum concentration for his art.
His famous painting Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe was created here. The convent des Prêcheurs located at the Aix-en-Provence near the Château de Vauvenargues, newly acquired by his daughter, Jacqueline Roque will house most of Pablo Picasso’s artworks in the coming year.
Mougins (1961 – 1973)
Picasso spent the last few years of his life in a beautiful villa, surrounded by magnificent gardens, Notre-Dame-de-Vie located at the outskirts of Mougins. He moved from Vauvenargues to Mougins to be close to his doctor who lived in Cannes as he had rising medical needs that required attention.
Although he had fallen so ill and undergone surgery, his years in the Muogins recorded immense recognition of his art. He had a series of notable works in the Mougins. Some of these are The Dance of Youth, Nu assis dans un fauteuil, The Chicago Picasso, and Femme nue au collier.
He died in his home during a dinner with his family in 1973. The local authorities wouldn’t permit him to be buried there and so his wife, Jacqueline chose the grounds of the Château de Vauvenargues for his interment. After his death, the house was acquired by his second wife until her death.