The Cote d’Azur and art

The Cote d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera, is a coastal area located in the south-easterly part of France, which borders the soothing tides that come in from the Mediterranean. It is remarkably picturesque, superbly rich in culture and history, has a wonderful climate and is defined by a leisurely way of life. All in all, quite the region to be in.

It comes as no surprise then that while Paris may have been the historic centre of modern art in the twentieth century, Cote d’Azur was equally popular with artists looking for a quieter, more natural backdrop in which to indulge and relax. But most of all, what they were seeking was something altogether special, a powerful vibe of sorts, in which they would feel inspired to make works of art in the purest way possible. One’s environment can be a most powerful tool of creativity, after all.

This was especially the case in the first half of the twentieth century, when it was frequented by some of the biggest names in the world of art, who were having a dramatic impact on the medium with their respective avant-garde contributions.

From the great modernist Pablo Picasso to the energetic Henri Matisse – the latter described the light emanating from the region as being “soft and tender, despite its brilliance” – to Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh further back, the Cote d’Azur has always appealed to creative luminaries. Here are a few of the artistic highlights to explore when visiting the area.

Cote d’Azur nightime

Cote d’Azur nightime

The Mark Chagall Museum

The Mark Chagall Museum contains one of the biggest public collections of the eponymous artist, and what you get from all his work is the fact that he was a true master of colour.

As art historian Raymond Cogniat once said: “The colours are a living, integral part of the picture and are never passively flat, or banal like an afterthought. They sculpt and animate the volume of the shapes.”

Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence

Often referred to simply as the Matisse Chape, the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence is a petite religious space designed by Matisse between 1949 and 1951.

From exterior to interior, the French artist was responsible for every inch of its aesthetic, which is indicative of his last, great artistic triumph – the bright, vibrant cut-outs that showed he had always been at the top of his game.

Cote d’Azur

Cote d’Azur

Musée des Beaux Arts Jules Cheret

The Musée des Beaux Arts Jules Cheret is an extensive space dedicated to the history of art, with its brilliant and historic collection spanning the past four centuries.

It includes works by the sculptor and painter Marie Bashkirtseff; the fauvist Dutch artist Kees van Dongen; the impressionist icon Claude Monet; the Italian mannerist painter Bronzino; and the talented post-impressionist Pierre Bonnard.

If you are visiting the Cote d’Azur and are considering purchasing a work of art, it is worth bearing in mind fine art shipping solutions.

Cote d’Azur photos: Rita Crane, Tiberio.

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