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Bob’s birthday and Cote d’Art

One of the things I most enjoy about the Cote d’Azur is the public art or to put it differently the U.K. suffers by comparison. Even in London there might be the odd public sculpture, memorial fountain or park gates usually of a poor standard. Here in Nice we noticed immediately a blue modern sculpture of a tilted chair on the Promenade Des Anglais and in one of the main thoroughfares the Avenue Jean Medecin illuminated figures on top of the lampposts.

Another feature of Nice we all like is the preservation of the flower and fruit market by restricting the large supermarket. We have yet to see let alone shop at one. The Cours Saleya market with its cornucopia of colourfully presented flowers, fruit and vegetables is at the heart of the old town flanked by restaurants and cafes. Monsieur Robert is greeted by many a costermonger as he makes his way for his early morning shop stopping off at the newspaper kiosk in the main square and boulangerie.

fondation-maeghtIn his retirement Bob has become something of an art collector and readily agreed that prior to lunch at the Colombe d’Or ar St Paul de Vence we visit the Maeght Foundation there.

Aime and Marguerite Maeght were art dealers of note and their foundation was opened in 1964 by arts minister Andre Malraux. It’s a light airy building whose architect is the Catalan Lluis Sert. Too many museums display their works in dark surroundings but the light here enhances the vibrancy of the modern art colours of Milo and Korder. After entering through a garden of sculptures of Alexander Korder, Antony Caro and Barbara Hepworth We proceeded to the Miro labyrinth which had mosaics designed by Chagall,and brought us in a courtyard of Giacometti figures. We then moved indoors to a stained glass Miro, a sumptuous Pierre Bonnard landscape and avast mural by Chagall rich in his symbolism and vibrant colours. There was an exhibition of Pench, an artist similar but not in my view as impressive as Ferdinand Leger which suffered in comparison to the major modern masters on view.

St Paul de venceWe strolled into St Paul, walking its cobbled streets full of art works and I saw the well that Winston Churchill painted but the work was not authenticated on Fake or Fortune. We were all ready for lunch and on sunny day is there a better place in the terrace amongst the lemon and orange trees of the Colombe d’Or? Most of us ordered the famous hors d’oeuvres. I will leave Daffers to review the meal and place. Sure it’s expensive but Bob noted our champagne was complimentary .

Bob had his customary siesta but awoke to the awful news at Westminster. We sat glued to BBC World News but though they had to stay with the story there was not that many developments they could report. Bob said he had often spoken to his parents about the Blitz, remembered the restaurant bombing of the IRA and other atrocities and Londoners are a resilent lot. Sadly most of the casualties were foreign except for the brave policeman who laid down his life. Bob said he hoped it was neither disrespectful nor selfish but his birthday will forever be remembered as 22/3 the day the terrorist attacked the heart and seat of government.

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts