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The Riviera/A History in Pictures (Part Two)

Whilst I enjoyed the second part of this programme broadcast yesterday it was with certain  reservations.

The main problem was that, by being a travel history of the Riviera from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day and a review of the artists that painted there, the scope was too wide.

With 15 minutes to go narrator Richard E Grant had to fast-forward to get everything in.

In doing so, here were some notable omissions: the Rosalie Chapel at Vence, Henri Matisse’s masterpiece; the Maeght Foundation nearby where dealer Aime Maeght saved numerous treasures from Nazi looting sometimes by painting over them; the wondrous Chagall Museum in Nice – much better than the Matisse one – with its enormous biblical canvases of extraordinary colour.

Richard E Grant was a capable and enthusiastic narrator but there was a touch of the Monty Python parody of Alan Whicker as he was filmed in one resort after another.

Matisse moved to Nice in 1917.

He had a disciplined regime of two hours on a rowing boat on the baie des Anges from 6-8am, returning to his flat to play the violin and then taking lunch in the market.

He painted between 9-12 noon and 4-7pm.

Picasso, who came down later, got a full airing and it was good Grant focussed on his ceramics.

He (and Picasso) claimed this was affordable art. It might have been up to 10 years ago but an original ceramic now fetches north of £1 million and even the catalogue of the Rames – owners of the Modura pottery- goes for more than £1000.

You cannot blame Picasso for this, the market received a boost when another resident of Vallauris – Richard Attenborough – had his collection sold as part of his estate and then the Modura owners cashed in on their’s.

The programme featured the Picasso museum at Antibes, which does indeed have some fine ceramics, but globally Picasso’s works are spread too thinly across museums in Malaga his birthplace, Barcelona where he studied, Paris and the Riviera where he resided.

The recent exhibition at the Royal Academy is still running and well worth a visit. .

I messaged Bob Tickler and Nancy to watch it as many of the haunts we love were featured.

Matisse once lived in the building at the end of the flower market at Cours Saleya, the various shots of the Promenade des Anglais shows the apartment block where we stay and Grant even had lunch with Roland Penrose’s son by Lee Miller Antony Penrose at the Colombe d”Or.

With more travel restrictions anticipated I so enjoyed this programme for its personal memories and art for all its limitations.

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