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Matisse, Chagall , Leger and Picasso museums

Yesterday I visited the above local museums as part of the prep for a bigger visit of Bob’s friends in 10 days time.

We started at the Matisse museum in the north of Nice in the Cimiez area.

This was once popular with Brits. Queen Victoria would stay at the imposing Hotel Regina – as did Matisse who was born in the north east of France but spent many years in Nice and Vence.

There was a detailed time-line of his life, various videos and photographs of him but the actual permanent collection was scanty.

Thus it did not have nearly the same impact as his great masterpiece the Rosarie Chapel in Vence.

From this, we moved to the nearby Chagall museum.

Chagall was born in Vitebsk, now Belarus , but spent his life in Paris and the States before moving to the South of France. This museum, designed by him in his lifetime, was his gift to France and contains vast biblical tableaux in those vivid colours and symbolism that is his trademark.

It also houses his ceramics and sculptures.

It is by no means Le tout Chagall But an interesting soupçon of this modern master of 20th century painting.

We then drove to Biot for the Fondation Leger.

This does contains a meaningful number of works of Fernand Leger.

Many would recognise his colorful big canvases of modern industrial life which coined him the description “ tubism”. In the huge white space of the museum in natural light these were displayed to their best advantage.

There is also a garden in which his mosaics featured. He too was a keen ceramist.

Finally we went to the National Museum of Picasso in Vallauris where he lived from 1946.

Picasso had an enormous output which us just as well as there are Picasso museums in his city of birth Malaga, Barcelona, Paris and nearby Antibes.

This museum also had his chapel of War and Peace (1952), a fresco dark on one side with horrors of war and light on the other, representing peace.

In Vallauris Picasso formed a creative partnership with the Modura pottery. He would create a master copy of a plate or vase and the pottery owners husband and wife Rame would copy this.

For many years this was affordable Picasso but since the death of Richard Attenborough, another resident of Vallauris, his collections fetched significant prices and the market has soared.

Picasso enjoyed bull fighting and I liked best his plates of the Corrida with matador picador and toreador.

Whilst there were a few rooms of his cubist paintings again I thought the picture collection scanty.

When you are planning a tour like this you must be mindful of the law of diminishing returns. Visitors soon become tired so pit stops for comfort breaks and cafes on site are essential.

All museums charged an entrance fee. If British museums are going to be picky about donors and want to retain their collection they may have to take the same route.

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