Art, Life & Literature on the Cote d’Azur

St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, Somerset Maugham, Seurat, Clive & Vanessa Bell, Colette & Francoise Sagan, Virginia Woolf, Pierre Bonnard, Monet, Antibes, Chateau Grimaldi, Francoise Gilot, Cole Porter, Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, Jean-Michel Folon, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Ben Vautier, Nikki de St. Phalle, Jean Cocteau, Eileen Gray, Villefranche’s Welcome Hotel, Le Corbusier

Date/time:
28 April – 30 June 2020
Tuesdays 10.45am - 12.45pm
Venue:
The University Women’s Club, 2 Audley Square, London W1K 1DB
Lecturer:
Dr. Marie-Anne Mancio
Fees:
Full course (9 sessions) £449.00
Single lecture £59.00
(includes morning coffee, tea and biscuits)

Book your place now on Art, Life & Literature on the Cote d’Azur

“Succint, articulate lecturing, Really engaging”

Before the railways, the Cote d’Azur was just a strip, 125 miles long, of impoverished Mediterranean villages. But it soon became legendary for its scintillating beauty and for the artworks it inspired. Journey along the coast from St. Tropez to Monte Carlo, meet the artists, architects, writers, and characters that inhabited what Somerset Maugham immortalised as ‘a sunny place for shady people’.

La Fenêtre, Pierre Bonnard, 1925
Cap de Antibes, Monet Paul Cezanne, The Gulf of Marseilles Seen from L'Estaque, c.1885

Course outline

28
Apr
2020
St. Tropez & Cassis: Making Waves

Mourning the death of Seurat, his friend and collaborator, pointillist artist and sailor Paul Signac bought a house in the fishing village of St. Tropez. He’d call it ‘the eighth wonder of the world...’ Others soon followed. Writers Colette and Francoise Sagan made St. Tropez their home. Clive and Vanessa Bell set up a studio in Cassis. On visiting them, Virginia Woolf was inspired to write her most experimental novel.

05
May
2020
Le Cannet: Painting One’s Pleasure

On 27th January 1926, 60 year old painter Pierre Bonnard, recently married to his long‐term mistress and model, Marthe, paid 50,000 francs for a beautiful Belle Epoque house. Here, at Villa du Bosquet, he’d make almost 300 works including self‐portraits, L’atelier au mimosa, nudes, and landscapes that moved towards abstraction.

12
May
2020
Antibes: This Magical Air

Monet spent February to May of 1888 painting in Antibes, creating over forty works. He said, ‘What I bring back from here will be sweetness itself, white, pink and blue.’ Over half a century later, when canvas and paint were scarce due to the war, Picasso was artist‐in‐residence at Antibes’s Chateau Grimaldi, producing nudes inspired by his latest love – Francoise Gilot – and still lives of sea urchins.

19
May
2020
No lecture

26
May
2020
Cap D’Antibes: Tender Is The Night

It was Cole Porter who introduced Gerald and Sara Murphy to Cap d’Antibes and, in the 1920s, their Villa America came to epitomise Cote d’Azur glamour. They hosted writers such as Hemingway and John Dos Passos, and artists like Léger and Picasso. Whilst Gerald’s career as a painter was short‐lived, he and his wife were character material for another Riviera resident: writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

02
Jun
2020
Biot & Cagnes Sur Mer: In Praise Of Beauty

A life‐changing visit to see Cézanne in 1882 and worsening arthritis encouraged Renoir to buy Les Collettes, a farmhouse nestled in an olive grove. He considered the sensuous paintings and sculptures he developed there amongst the best of his career. Biot, famous for its ceramics since the C18th, was where Fernand Léger started making large polychrome reliefs with Roland Brice.

09
Jun
2020
Vence & St. Paul De Vence: ‘Small, Pure, Clean‐Cut’

So wrote Sylvia Plath of Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, Matisse’s four‐year labour of love that he would describe as ‘a distillation of [his] life’s work.’ It originated when his former nurse and model, Monique Bourgeois, became a Dominican nun. In 2005, in the picturesque village of St. Paul de Vence, Belgian artist Jean‐Michel Folon decorated the White Penitents’s chapel.

16
Jun
2020
Nice & Saint‐Jean‐Cap‐Ferrat: A Propos De Nice

Documented in Jean Vigo’s 1930 silent film where the upper classes yawn in casinos whilst the poor struggle in slums, Nice would inspire its own artistic movement in the 1950s. Retrospectively known as the School of Nice, artists like Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Ben (Vautier), and Nikki de St. Phalle made shocking works. At Cap Ferrat, Somerset Maugham entertained high society in the grounds of his Moorish villa whose gardens were peopled by naked men.

23
Jun
2020
Villefranche Sur Mer: Poetic Visions

Poet, novelist, painter, film‐maker, and writer of ballet scenarios, Jean Cocteau resided in room 22 of Villefranche’s Welcome Hotel. He brought his Parisian friends to haunt the place and credited it with curing his opium addiction. As well as painting the local fishermen, he created major works here like Le Testament d’Orphée and La Chapelle Saint‐Pierre.

30
Jun
2020
Monte Carlo & Roquebrune Cap Martin: An Act Of Vandalism

Edith Wharton used Monte Carlo as the backdrop for key scenes in her novel The House of Mirth but it was too expensive for most artists. At nearby Roquebrune, designer Eileen Gray created her first architectural work (finished in 1929), with bespoke modernist furniture. When she moved out of E1027, her former lover allowed his friend Le Corbusier to paint murals there. Which he did, naked. These garish designs, replete with references to Gray’s bisexuality, would enrage her.