Picasso, les Chemins du Sud

February 7, 2010By Cathy NolanArchive

Paris Update Art Notes


Paris Update PICASSO-Dejeuner-sur-herbe

Pablo Picasso: “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe d’après Manet”(1961). © Succession Picasso 2012 © Réunion des Musées Nationaux © Musée National Picasso-Paris

With the Picasso Museum in Paris closed for renovation until 2013, the place to get a Picasso jolt this summer is the Côte d’Azur. The towns of Cannes and Vallauris are staging a special tribute to the artist, highlighting the extraordinarily productive years he spent in the region, from 1947 until his death in 1973. Picasso lovers can follow in his footsteps on a self-guided tour entitled “Picasso, les Chemins du Sud” (through Sept. 30).

The starting point and pièce de resistance is an exhibition at La Malmaison art center in Cannes, with some 80 major works – paintings, prints, sculptures – sent from the Paris collection back to the Mediterranean clime that inspired them. Visitors can contemplate Picasso’s 1958 “The Bay of Cannes,” for instance, and compare it with the original, right outside the door.

The photos of Andre Villers in the show add another revealing dimension. The young photographer’s friendship with Picasso sparked not only intimate portraits of him at work and at home, but also a series of photo collages Villers and Picasso created together between 1954 and 1961; 39 of these experimental photogrammes, part photograph and part cutouts of Picasso drawings, are on show.

Photos by Villers in mega-format have also been placed in strategic spots around Cannes and along the road to Vallauris, leading visitors on the Picasso trail to a second show, at the Magnelli Museum of Ceramics in the Château de Vallauris. Centered on the 1951 painting “Smoke over Vallauris,” the show focuses on the wildly innovative ceramics Picasso produced with local artisans, a collaboration credited with saving the town’s industry from ruin. Other traces of Picasso’s stay in Vallauris are on permanent display nearby: the powerful “War and Peace” panels he painted in 1952 for the château’s chapel, and his “Man with Sheep” statue, donated by the artist on the condition that children be allowed to climb all over it.

And, to round out the experience, visit the Musée Picasso in Antibes. Cathy Nolan


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