One of the reasons why we decided to visit Antibes was because the town had an association with Pablo Picasso.
He moved to Côte d’Azur from Paris in 1946 with his then muse, Françoise Gilot and he spent his next ten years in French Riviera.
This is a portrait of Françoise. Picasso created a series of paintings and lithographs of her as La femme-fleur – a flower-woman.
When Picasso, then 61 started a relationship with Françoise was just 21.
Even though Picasso once described a period he spent with Françoise in Antibes as “La Joie de Vivre”, her account of life with him was not so rosy. She recorded in her memoir, “Life with Picasso”, which was published in 1964, their stimulating but also tumultuous life together.
On the wall of the Musée Picasso…
A stone structure which overlooked the Mediterranean Sea was originally a Roman fort and in the 14th Century, it was rebuilt as a residence of Monaco’s ruling family, the Grimaldi.
The stronghold of the royal family became Antibes’s town hall in the early 18th Century and from 1925, the place was called the Grimaldi Museum, housing archaeological artefacts.
During the late summer of 1946, Picasso arrived to the town and he was invited to use the former guard’s hall on the second floor as his studio. Even though his stay wasn’t lengthy – only two months, he produced 23 paintings and 44 drawings.
In the studio, Picasso worked mainly in the night while Françoise stayed in their abode in Golfe-Juan which was 5.5km away from Antibes.
When Picasso was leaving, he donated all the works he created during his stay in Antibes to the museum on one condition that the works would remain in the museum permanently.
I found the gallery space very relaxed and intimate.
The amount of the exhibits may not be abundant like the one in Paris. However, the space was very unique because it was where the famous occupant created more than a few of his iconic works.
Picasso must have looked out of the window and saw the same scenery.
Picasso, he is an enigma…
His vision, his creativity, his personality, everything about him is a mystery to me.
A man with an insatiable thirst for self-expression. That is Pablo Picasso.
Now, let’s go and find the old town centre where Picasso and his friends must have had seen and lived…