Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Next year, a 19.2m euro, 3-year renovation will begin at the Cité du Livre: what is planned and what will happen to those famous books (see photo)? (more…)

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Easter Sunday Mass was celebrated at ‘La grotte de Sainte-Baume’ at the weekend to formally re-open the cave of Saint Mary Magdalene after its being closed for 10 months’ work. (more…)

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Now that the long-plannned Musée Picasso will no longer be moving into the old College des Precheurs building, the town council has put it up for sale on the open market.  And opposition parties are asking for details of the terms and conditions of the sale. (more…)

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Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1897

‘Parking anarchique’ was the story last week as the popular rambling destination, the Sainte-Victoire, was hit by a perfect storm of school holidays, inability to travel far, and daily curfews.  And there’s always the impending threat of a new confinement to trigger the well-we’d-better-go-now-before-another-lockdown response. (more…)

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It was a snowy February in 1888, when Vincent Van Gogh left Paris to settle in Arles: he hoped to enjoy an idyll of colourful nature in the south, but brought with him his fascination for Japanese culture and its distinctive artistic style.

He couldn’t afford sitters so used to paint his neighbours; and it is a drawing of a young girl from Arles that is going on sale tomorrow at Christies in New York. ‘La Mousmé is’, he wrote to his brother Theo, ‘a Japanese girl – Provencal in this case’.

It’s expected to fetch 7-10 million dollars.

Also for sale, ‘Scene de rue a Montmartre‘ which he painted before leaving Paris. It has been owned by the same family since 1920 so not seen in public for a hundred years.  It goes on sale at Sotheby’s on March 25th.  Thanks to Julia for this info.

Vincent van Gogh’s Scène de rue à Montmartre/Montmartre Street Scene (Impasse des Deux Frères et le Moulin à Poivre) (February-April 1887) Courtesy of Sotheby’s/ArtDigital Studio

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Work is progressing on the transformation of Marseille’s Villa Mediterranée to become a showcase for a reproduction of the Grotte Cosquer.

This is a cave of ancient art, 37m deep under the sea near the calanque de Morgiou, and reachable by intrepid divers who have to negotiate a pitch-black 175m tunnel. Film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IacB-F1k_E

The sea level has risen hugely since pre-historic people walked into this cave for shelter.  Melting ice across the continent deluged the area, bringing water into the cave and submerging 5km of shore and land in front of it.  There seem to have been 2 waves of inhabitants – the first have left 65 hand-prints (27,000 years old) and the second 177 drawings of animals (19,000 years old).  These include horses, bison and deer as well as ice-age creatures like seals and penguins.

Apparently the sea-level is still rising and will eventually submerge the cavern with its ancient drawings.

So it’s wonderful for posterity that this is being precisely and convincingly recreated by specialists involved at Lascaux and more recently in the Ardeche caves.  A centimetre-by-centimetre reconstruction will allow us all the opportunity to experience what the divers saw, from the safety of little open-top carriages which will move visitors around the ‘cave’.

Here’s an insight into progress so far: https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/102031-000-A/la-nouvelle-grotte-cosquer/

Expected date of opening – June 2022.

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The Carrieres de Lumieres is currently closed and will not be unveiling its new ‘Cézanne Le Maitre de Provence’ show as hoped next week. (more…)

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Fancy a quick visit to Ashkelon, Aix’s twin town in Israel?

The Aix-Jumelages association has linked up with a guide who will be on Zoom to give you an hour’s tour of the ancient town, with insights into its history and culture, and interviews with local people.  Thursday 18th February, 18:30.  Details here and the poster below: http://www.aix-jumelages.com/2021/02/11/visite-virtuelle-dashkelon-ville-jumelee-avec-aix/

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Paul Signac’s painting of the town.

A recommended day out from Aix is Saint-Paul de Vence, one of my favourite villages in Provence: it could be a bit far to go right now under the circumstances, in which case keep this for your WTIAO list (When This Is All Over).  But if you are nearby, an off-season visit can be the perfect opportunity to walk the ramparts or the pretty streets to experience what inspired so many artists. (more…)

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