Matisse and the French Riviera

September 20, 2015

The French Riviera is a famous and popular tourist destination in the south of France, known as the playground of the rich and famous, the pebble beaches and zillion-dollar villas have always been occupied by celebrities, socialites and so on.

It’s not just jetsetters and tastemakers who visit the French Riviera, however, and the region has plenty of spectacular tourist attractions for people of all walks of life. Whether you go to lounge on a beach in St-Tropez, explore beautiful Cannes or the towns made famous by Picasso—Antibes, Vallauris, Mougins.

One of the most famous destinations in the south of France is Nice; home to, among other things, French artist Henri Matisse.

Mattise was born in 1869 and settled along Nice’s waterfront in 1917, seeking a sun cure after a bout with pneumonia. He remained there until he died in 1954, having previously spent time across Europe working as an artist. Matisse was famous for painting and sculpting, but primarily known as a painter. He was also famous for pioneering “plastic art” in his work, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

Nice have honoured Matisse with the Matisse Museum, a restored 17th century villa surrounded by Roman ruins which houses a large collection of Matisse works. Most of the works were donated by the city following his death, but some were donated by the artist’s family. The collection illustrates the evolution of his art, from the Cezanne-esque still-life paintings to his sculptures and everything in between. There is also a series of black and white photos which show the artist at work, each telling its own personal and previously-unheard story about one of France’s great artists. Every detail, right down to the decoration of the museum, is reminiscent of Matisse and is a celebration of how the artist lived.

Henri Matissefrench-riveImage from musee-matisse-nice.org

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