Posts Tagged ‘Fondation Monticelli’


L’Oeuvre de Monticelli 1824-86′

is the new exhibition at the Fondation Monticelli which is on the hillside above L’Estaque.  Marseille-born, this artist inspired Van Gogh.  There’s a short film of his paintings here which may be of interest if you decide to go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxWigtL1wSc

Whatever you think of his work, the gallery is a fantastic place to visit.  It was formerly a fort, built in 1861, looking out to sea, high above Marseille.  It was opened in 2010 after 5 years of work and is a superb renovation.  The big windows have views across the Mediterranean to the city- you can sit and watch the ferries and cruise ships coming in to port as well as planes making their final approach to Marignane.  All very distracting!monticelli1

There is a very large free car-park but no café.  So if you need sustenance, a short drive down to L’Estaque brings you to lots of restaurants.  It’s fun too to have a walk around the old fishing port and, if you want more art history, there are panels to take you round a trail of locations where Cézanne and various cubists set up their easels.  A nice afternoon out, all in all.

It’s open Wednesday-Sunday 10-17:00hrs.  The exhibition runs to 4th May. 



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deco5May in Aix.  Que de bonheur!  And I hope you have bought your little posy of muguet to ensure future happiness.

There is certainly plenty to do in the coming days to make culture-vultures happy.

We can start with Sm’art which is a large open-air show of contemporary arts – 200 painters, photographers and sculptors will be exhibiting in the Parc Jourdan from 2nd – 6th May.

You have to pay to go in but it is worth it if you like really funky art.  It must be a treasure trove for collectors, but for those of us who like painting, it provides lots of inspiration.  They also have a nice café for tea on the lawn.  Details: http://www.salonsmart-aix.com/fr_FR/

More conventional art is on show at the Fondation Monticelli where their new expo starts May 1st.  Entitled ‘Cassis, Marseille, L’Estaque 1830-1930’ it sounds promising but no details on their website.  Why oh why don’t these organisations let us into their secrets?  Anyway, it’s a fabulous place to visit.view from gallery  Just look at the views from the windows!  The gallery is in a converted fort perched on rocks high above L’Estaque.  There is a huge free car park.  No café but it’s easy to roll on down the hill into the town for a coffee.

Friday you have a choice between two fascinating events.

In Aix, there is an all-night reading of the entire Odyssey in the place de l’Hotel de Ville. There will be a relay team of readers accompanied by dancers and musicians.  From 18:00 to 05:00 the next morning.  In front of the Hotel des Grains whose bibliotheque will be open throughout.  More info on www.odyssee2013aixenprovence.blogspot.fr.

Cie Carabosse / Installations de feu / Fesival DŽpayz'arts / Fontainebleau 31/12/2009Alternatively you can head down to Marseille for a what sounds like a magical evening ‘Le Vieux Port Entre Flammes et Flots’ when the Vieux Port will be illuminated with 6000 torches, lights and candles in different formations.  Apparently you can walk literally right round the Vieux Port as the right and left banks will be joined by a floating illuminated jetty!  Friday and Saturday from 20.30 onwards.  They advise everyone to use public transport.  Details here:


And finally – markets on Sunday. There’s antiques and brocante in the place de Verdun,  jewellery in the cours Mirabeau (Les Bijoux d’Aix) and old books in the place de l’Hotel de Ville.

Lots to do and enjoy!

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Finally, today, got to visit the Fondation Monticelli which is on the coast, west of Marseille, between L’Estaque and Le Rove.  And what a gallery it is!

It started life as a fort, built in 1861 and standing high on the hillside to defend the coast.  It fell into disrepair and was squatted and graffitied – until it was renovated and opened in 2010 as a home for a collection of paintings by Monticelli.  He was a 19th century Marseille-born artist whose love of colour inspired Van Gogh.  His paintings are on the ground floor of the gallery.

Upstairs is a temporary exhibition of Charles Camoin (1879-1965), also born in Marseille and another joyous colourist.

It was quite hard, though, to concentrate on the paintings with such amazing views through those beautiful arched windows: a sun-drenched panorama of Marseille, la Bonne Mère, the docks, massive white cruise ships, the yachts at L’Estaque….

But these were the very views that inspired Camoin. He loved the area and painted in Marseilles his native town, in Cassis and in St Tropez. He had a studio in Paris from where he painted local sights (below).

His are brightly coloured paintings, beautiful in this sun-filled gallery.

I thought I was making this exhibition just in time as it was supposed to end 30th September, but it is being held over until 7th October.  The gallery director will be giving a guided tour at 15:00 on 5th October.

Fondation Monticelli has a very large free car park from where it is a short walk to the gallery.  It’s open Wed-Sun, 10-17:00hrs.  L’Estaque is a short car-ride down the hill and has quite a few restaurants and cafés – especially good if you like local fish.

There is a walking trail of panels linking the places artists chose to paint from.  More info: http://www.marseille-tourisme.com/en/discover-marseille/city-of-art/lestaque-and-its-painters/ The panels show old photos of L’Estaque and the coast.  It’s striking how much simpler the landscapes were then, with unobstructed views free of the clutter of cars, yachts, big trees, hoardings, parking signs, shops, dockland cranes.  A beautiful coast which Camoin delighted in capturing, as this small expo shows.

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