Antibes, with Picasso and purple jellyfish

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.

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The old town of Antibes behind walls fortified against the waves of the Mediterranean.

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.

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A “jeune fille” enjoying the sand of Antibes in her French stripes.

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Instead of bluebottles, we’ve found purple jellyfish. Or perhaps they are lavender.

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The walk along the shore around Cap d’Antibes is very pleasant.

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We need a mistral to blow off the haze. This is a view from Antibes toward Nice with snow-capped mountains in the distance.

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Boules is very popular in France. This group seemed to be at a stalemate, all talk and no boule action. Let’s play boule!

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Every French city seems to have a Hotel de Ville. This is in Antibes, with a mistral bell on the top.

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The Church of the Immaculate Conception brings in the yellow and red ocher colors of Roussillon.

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.


This was the world’s first Picasso museum. It has over 200 works, including many sketchings and ceramics.


Did Picasso ever smile?

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.


One of Picasso’s paintings of a nude female.

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These geometrics are a bit like early emoticons…or like the variety of wall outlets we have seen in our travels around the world.

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.


Not a ballet dancer.

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.


Picasso’s plates

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.


Bernard Pages pressings

Other sculptors are included in the permanent works at the Musee Picasso.


These halved guitars are by Arman. It looks a bit like the giant guitar tower in Seattle’s EMP Museum.


One of a series of bronzes by Germaine Richier. The Cote d’Azur in the background.

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The plane did not come out of the mouth of this bronze sculpture at the entrance to the museum. Nice airport is just a few miles away.

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La Deesse by Joan Miro.


La Deesse and Le Dieu? (The goddess and the god) We didn’t capture the name and artist for the second sculpture of stacked bricks.

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Le Dieu and le Deesse for the bathroom entrance. When she saw me taking this photo, a docent rushed up and said, “That’s not a Picasso.” But on display, it looks like art!





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2 Responses to Antibes, with Picasso and purple jellyfish

  1. lynn mcvey says:

    I like the Picasso emoticons. He always under impressed me, lol!


  2. noconbach says:

    Yes, some of his stuff has such a simple style I think “I could do that.” And then his biography says he produced 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, 34,000 illustrations which were used in books, and 300 sculptures and ceramic pieces. A true underachiever!


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