Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aix


While in France recently I visited the charming city of Aix-en-Provence. It's right in the heart of Provence with good access to all the nearby places of interest-Les Baux, Rousillon, Gordes etc. Marseille, Nimes & Arles are not far either. I drew the land mark fountain from the Cours Mirabeau and a nearby manège.




I was in town to hit the Picasso trail. I checked out the Cezanne Picasso exhibition at the Musee Granet. There were some excellent examples on show-including Picasso's own collection of Cezanne paintings. The Spanish artist often cited Cezanne as his artistic master- Cubism was hugely influenced by Cezanne's work. I got to scrutinize works that I had only seen previously seen in print-including Cezanne's academic life drawings.


Next stop was a visit to the second to last home of Picasso. Towards the end of his life he purchased the imposing Chateau de Vauvenargues, in the foothills of the Mont St Victoire-the famous mountain that dominates the Provencal skyline & which featured so often in Cezanne's work.

This summer, for the first time, it has been opened to the public. I woke at the crack of dawn to queue for a ticket & later that day got to join a small tour around the whole building. We saw the living quarters, the studio & the large dining room where Picasso & Jacqueline entertained guests.
They are both buried there too, beneath a grassy mound outside the front door, the monumental bronze Woman with a Vase serving as a headstone.



The last house Picasso lived in was a villa close to the Notre Dame de Vie chapel in the hills above Mougins and Cannes. It took me forever to find the place. The artist must have enjoyed the privacy this location afforded him in old age. The villa is privately owned & inaccessible so I could only draw the ramshackle old chapel now in a state of disrepair. Picasso died here & after the Mougins authorities refused permission for a burial in the village his body was taken back to Vauvenargues instead.


There's one address Picasso lived at on the Cote d'Azur that I'm yet to see-the villa La Galloise at Vallauris. It holds special interest for me as the name translates as the Welsh house! Next time I'll find it . . .

12 comments:

Kendra Melton said...

Especially enjoy the drawing of the carousel.

limbolo said...

Such a flaneur...

Top one is very Searliste.

Mick said...

aye that carousel... lovelly bit of gubbins and no mistake

'Diamond' Dave Merritt said...

Hey Matt. Always a blast to check out your sketches. Hope all is well.

Heather Dixon said...

That is lovely! I just love your sketches.

CLARKE said...

Dito!

Great penwork Matt,the carousel really draws you in. "Place de la Rotunde" did the bearded guy march over and smash the ghetto blaster in?

J

UM said...

Yesterday, whilst having a coffee in Seillans, I got to talk to someone who went to the Picasso house tour. He said it might be the only time Jaqueline's daughter will allow the public in, so you were lucky to see the man's grave.
Great drawings, very Searliste as Neil says, but in a Jonezy way, wonderful!

Terry Banderas said...

Simply beautiful artwork. Love this one!

Lynne Chapman said...

Wonderful stuff. Really superb.

Matt J said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

stefan said...

Beautiful drawings as ever - particularly the carousel. Searliste or Searlesque?

Quentin Lebegue said...

Hey !! That's where I live !! Aix-en-Provence ! This is awesome.

Your drawings are so great !!