and the exquisitely beautiful town of Moustiere Ste Marie recommended by my good friend Romson Bustillo. Here is my salute to the good life in a small restaurant there.
Seeing the art of these famous artists in the locations where they lived and worked was enlightening. (We missed out on Leger, that will have to be on the next trip).
They moved to Southern France when it was dirt cheap, one after the other, Cezanne came from there and never left, and he painted in his own back garden as well as a quarry and his studio. Amazingly limited geography. He was forced to the sea during the Franco Prussian war and painted the Meditaerranean "l'Estaque" like a big blue wall. No crashing waves for him. Van Gogh of course moved for the sun and color.
Matisse in Nice were a perfect match of light and color, Picasso went there in 1946 (having spent the war years in Paris) and spent three months painting with makeshift materials at the Grimaldi Castle. It is now a Picasso Museum right on the water, in what was a grim old castle. Today it is filled with light and air and an extraordinary group of paintings, many of them in tones of grey and brown.There is also a stunning group of black and white photographs of Picasso painting in the Palace, with Francois Gilot, the only woman who every left Picasso, from those same months. And then there is Picasso's amazing pottery. He painted on preexisting pots in Vallauris and restarted the entire pottery production there.
Apparently he didn't like the fact that Matisse made a chapel for nuns at Vence. He was an atheist, but a very competitive one, so he did a chapel in Vallauris with War on one wall and Peace on the other wall. It has been closed down though. Here is War. Peace will come soon. Below is a photograph of the Chapel from the web. The murals are painted in a Romanesque chapel with a barrel vault and he painted it completely. Of course the formalists don't like any of Picasso's political work.
I've never even see these work reproduced before. Not part of the MOMA canon, that's for sure.
I am on the emotional side with Picasso, but I can still enjoy Matisse. Cezanne I felt was so priviledged, how could he fail to be a success. All he had to do was paint!