We visited Antibes, another beautiful old town on the Cote d’Azur. It was an important port and fortification during Greek and Roman days and later a home to bishops, but it was eventually seized by barbarians. Now it is seized only by tourists, who visit to see beaches and artworks.
Although Antibes is very popular with tourists, including the rich and famous, its beaches this spring are not yet ready for peak season. The water temperature is still in the 60s but the sun is glorious.
In 1946, Pablo Picasso visited fellow painters in Antibes. He worked in a large studio in the Chateau Grimaldi, a stone castle by the sea, built in 1385.
Picasso spent just two months in this studio. He created 23 paintings and 44 drawings, many including sea urchins, women, and women with sea urchins. Additional pieces have since been donated.
Little known fact: Picasso joined the Russian ballet in 1917. (All this artistic talent and he could dance too?) He was not a dancer, but created set design and costumes. His cubist costumes for Parade for Ballets Russes severely limited dancer movement.
When Picasso lived and worked in Vallauris, just west of Antibes, he stumbled upon craftsmen working with Madoura ceramics. This was one more medium for him to master. He created hundreds of vases, platters, pitchers, and plaques, many including elements of his other works. Nearly 80 of these ceramic pieces are now in the Musee Picasso in Antibes.
Despite Picasso’s pacifist views (as evidenced by Guernica and other works), he didn’t seem to shy away from bullfighting, the “to the death” variety like we saw in Arles. The top two of his ceramics below show picadors, with their horses wearing the nominally protective peto coverings. The bottom right shows the banderillero about to place two banderillas.
The museum was hosting an exhibition of works on paper by Bernard Pages. A number of pieces involved wetting paper, placing steel rods randomly (to our uneducated eyes) on the paper, covering with more wet paper, spraying with water, and pressing down the layers with rocks. After a short period, the pile was disassembled and the two pieces of paper had almost mirror images captured in rust.
Other sculptors are included in the permanent works at the Musee Picasso.