Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Martigues as captured by Antoine  Ponchin, to be seen in the ‘Escales Mediterranees’ show

‘Escales Mediterrannées’ at the Musée Regards de Provence has been extended until 28th January – it really is a pleasure to step inside out of the wind and see a feast of sunny views of Venice, Naples, Alger, Dubrovnik, and closer to home, Cassis, Agay, Martigues, Saint-Tropez and Marseille itself.  Blue sea, palm trees, boats, fruit-sellers, mosques and souks animate these beautiful paintings.


The upstairs gallery is dedicated to the work of André Maire, a committed traveller from Marseille.  He produced sepia sketches from countries such as India, Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as much larger and more colourful works which combine elements of each country into a composition.  So you get not so much a view of Cambodia, as a composite of Asian vegetation, an elephant, a Buddha, perhaps a local girl.  Til 27th May. More here: http://www.museeregardsdeprovence.com/exposition/voyages-dandre-maire

This upstairs gallery is a lovely sunny space and it is always a pleasure to watch the boats across the road – yesterday two were setting off to Corsica and Algeria. Of course there is a roof-top restaurant and terrace café with similar views – and there’s a good shop downstairs with all manner of temptation.


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…except in Paris there isn’t a handy quarry so they have adapted a nineteenth-century iron foundry to convert into a massive space for projecting moving images along with themed music.

It is being morphed from this:


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Pablo Picasso, Le Baiser, 1925
Huile sur toile, 130 x 97,7 cm
Musée national Picasso, Paris
© Agence photo RMN-GP
© Succession Picasso, 2017

More on Picasso in that his work has been chosen to be the co-subject of the summer show at Aix’s Musée Granet.

‘Picasso/Picabia’ begins on June 9th and runs through to 23rd September.  It promises to be an intriguing juxtaposition of two very different artists working in the south of France.

This is part of the ‘Picasso Mediterranée’ programme which includes:

– ‘Picasso La Suite Vollard’, Centre d’Art La Malmaison, Cannes. Current. This beautiful gallery on La Croisette is showing 100 prints created between 1930-1937 which emphasise his purity of line, and reflect the artist’s fascination with mythology.

– ‘Botero Dialogue Avec Picasso’ at the Caumont Centre d’Art, Aix. Current.

– ‘Picasso Voyages Imaginaires’ in Marseille.  A series of shows at the Vieille Charité, MuCEM and the Théatre de la Criée.  From 16th Feb 2018 – 24th June.

– Picasso et Maitres Espagnols at Carrieres de Lumieres, Les Baux, starts 2nd March .

I read that Picasso had created some 65,000 works during his long career (paintings, ceramics, sculptures, prints, illustrations…).

IMPORTANT NOTE: the Musee Picasso at Antibes is a wonderful place to see his work – the items on show were produced during 1946, after the war, when the artist was literally feeling liberated, and also emotionally happy with Francoise Gilot.  This lightness really comes through in his art shown here.  But check their website if you want to visit as there are renovations afoot.  Here is the current status: Warning, due to renovation works in 2018 :
January to March, the 2nd floor (Picasso collection) will be closed.
April to June, the 1st floor (contemporary collection of the works of Nicolas de Stael) will be closed.

Happily for us in Aix, the works of Nicolas de Stael will be on show at the Caumont Centre d’Art from May 4th…but that’s for another post.

For more details on the Picasso shows: https://picasso-mediterranee.org/index.html#en/map/


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The former convent and college des Precheurs in Aix centre ville has been sold for 11.5 million euros to house an extensive collection of Picasso’s works – paintings, ceramics, sculptures – 2,000 in all.


The Musée Jacqueline et Pablo Picasso will be the third museum in France to be dedicated to the artist, after Paris and

           Jacqueline and Pablo Picasso


At 4600m2, it will be three-storeys high and, as well as the collection, will include:

  • space for temporary exhibitions
  • a 200-seat auditorium
  • a documentation centre dedicated to the artist
  • a pottery workshop for the public.

The objective is to attract 500,000 visitors a year, that’s 1,500 a day ….and that’s where opponents of the scheme are raising objections. The ‘Democratie pour Aix’ group have pointed out that vehicular access will be difficult in this newly-pedestrianised site, with little parking available nearby; that the large market which runs outside three times a week must be considered; and that an underground auditorium could have a destablising effect on neighbouring buildings especially given that they are built on clay.

I hope they can make it work as this historical building is lovely and the collection would be an internationally-significant attraction for the town. It is currently being used as an info-point for the archaeological dig going on outside, so why not take the opportunity to go in for a look around before the transformation begins? It’s supposed to be open Mondays 9-12, Wednesdays and Fridays 14-17hrs.

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New Art Exhibition in Marseille

I have to hand it to the Musée Regards de Provence who seem to keep finding interesting local artists to introduce to us all. (more…)

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‘Anges et Mascarons’ is the theme for a photo exhibition which begins on Saturday 2nd December. And the photographer will be at the bookstore that evening 17:00-19:00hrs.  He is Mohammed El Hamzaoui who with Léo Purguette has also produced a book ‘Mascarons d’Aix, visages secrets’.

His work focuses on the intriguing and mysterious stone faces that peer out all around us in Aix – from fountains, doorways and above windows.   Who are they and what do they signify?  And what of the angels in centre ville?

Details of the exhibition are on the poster below.  Thank you to Sheila for this info!

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‘Cézanne at Home’ and a retrospective of the painter Tal Coat have recently opened at the Musée Granet, both worth a visit.

‘No painting by Cézanne will ever enter this museum’, proclaimed Henri Pontier who was curator in 1900.  His attitude is made even worse by the fact that, during his time in charge, the painter’s son and wife were selling his works for modest sums after his death.  Aix could have had a fabulous collection.

There are 900 oil paintings by Cézanne in existence along with 400 watercolours but of course they are now going for astronomical prices.  The state of Qatar paid a

Vue vers la route du Tholonet pres de Chateau Noir 1900-1904

then record 250 million dollars for The Card Players; small museums simply can’t compete.  But loans can help and the Granet has been lent ‘Vue vers la route du Tholonet pres de Chateau Noir’ by the Fondation Henry and Rose Pearlman for a year.

This has provided the stimulus for the museum to show their whole collection of Cézanne’s work and memorabilia, including rarely-seen sketches which are vulnerable to light, his letters, his paint-box, and items from Jas de Bouffan.  You can also see their usual collection of oil-paintings, minus Madame Cézanne who has decamped for London’s National Portrait Gallery and their terrific show of Cézanne’s Portraits.

Pierre Tal Coat was an ardent follower of Cézanne and, although Breton, came south to live in Aix and Le Tholonet (actually at the Chateau Noir) from 1940-

Tal Coat – self-portrait

1956. I knew nothing about this artist so it was interesting to follow his career via the 180 works on show.

He started off with figurative paintings but became more and more abstract.  Here is his version of Montage Sainte-Victoire:

I find it growing on me!

With such a long progressive career, some periods will appeal more than others, but it’s a rewarding show, right to the last.

Back to Cézanne:  A couple of years ago, I posted about the night 8 Cézannes were stolen in Aix. If you missed it, it’s a fascinating story: https://aixcentric.com/2015/03/02/the-night-8-cezannes-were-stolen-in-aix/.

‘Cezanne at Home’ is  on until 1st April and Tal Coat until 11th March.




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