Modern art in the French Riviera – an itinerary

Place: Nice, Country: France
Modern Art in the French Riviera
Text by Inexhibit
Photos: see captions


A – see credits at the end of the page

(or read the full article below)

This itinerary connects seven museums at short distance from one another. The period we are referring at, from the end of World War Two to the early 1980s, sees some of the greatest modern artists residing in the small strip of land located between the Mediterranean coast and the villages lying on the hills behind Nice and Cannes.
A territory, with an outstanding environment and landscape, stuck in people’s mind also due to so many novels and films depicting it.

In our short voyage we will meet four personalities, among them Pablo Picasso and Henry Matisse were the pinpoints of two modern art avant-gardes: Cubism and Fauvism. All four, for different reasons, lived and worked in this area: Picasso for a long time, from 1946 to 1973, at first in Antibes, then in Vallauris, Cannes and Mougins; Matisse spent a large part of his mature age between Nice and Vence; Fernand Léger regularly came to the village of Biot and the museum bearing his name lies on a plot of land bought by Léger shortly before his death. Finally, Marc Chagall, who personally superintended the realisation of his museum, lived initially in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, then in Vence and eventually in Saint Paul de Vence, where he died in 1985.


B – see credits at the end of the page

Our itinerary has a total length of about 70 kilometres and begins from two monograph museums: The Musée Matisse and the Musée National Marc Chagall, both located in Cimiez, a neighbourhood and hill in Nice marked out by parks, well frequented by children and petanque players, and by a fascinating Gallo-Roman archaeological site.



D – Musée National Marc Chagall – Nice
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Musée Chagall page


E – Musée Matisse – Nice
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Musée Matisse page

After descending the Cimiez hill, we proceed along the Promenade des Anglais and the seaside until Villeneuve Loubet, where we take the road toward Vence. In Vence we can visit the Chapelle du Saint-Marie du Rosaire, realised by Matisse who conceived everything of this small building, from the stained glass windows to the murals, from the furniture to the priests’ vestments. From here, Saint Paul de Vence is pretty near and a stop over at the Maeght Foundation is imperative.


F – Fondation Maeght – Saint Paul de Vence
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Fondation Maeght page

We go down from Saint Paul de Vence and proceed toward the sea, in Biot we will find the National museum dedicated to Fernand Léger.


G – Musée Leger – Biot
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Musée Fernand Léger page

From Biot to Mogins we drive through a inland road until Mougins, where we can see the Musée de la Photographie, rich of unusual photographs depicting the life and the artistic activity of Pablo Picasso.


H – Musée de la Photographie – Mougins
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Musée de la Photographie page

The last two stops are the Château de Vallauris, which houses both the Musée de la ceramique, displaying also ceramic works by Picasso, and the Musée National Picasso, which is actually a chapel beautifully decorated by the Spanish artist, and eventually the Musée Picasso in Antibes, where we return back to the Mediterranean seaside.


I – Château de Vallauris
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Château de Vallauris page


L – Musée Picasso – Antibes
Inexhibit Mymuseum: Musée Picasso page

Cover image: Musée Matisse, photo Inexhibit
A) top, from left to right: a frame from To catch a Thief (1955); two photos by Inexhibit
bottom: from left to right: photo by crabchick ; photo by bluguia-pablo; a frame from Surviving Picasso, (1996).
B) photo by Sébastien Bertrand
map based on Google maps
D) – E)
photos by Inexhibit
F) from left to right: a photo by id number THX 1139, a photo by Andrea Castelli, a photo by Sébastien Bertrand.
G) a photo by Francoise Philipp
H) from left to right: photos 1,2,4 by Inexhibit, photo 3 by James Trindade
I) from left to right: a photo by Monica Arellano Ongpin ;photos 2,3,4 by Takato Marui
L) from left to right: photo 1 by Takato Marui, photos 2,3 by Shimown

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