The importance of the Côte d’Azur on the history of art cannot be underestimated. It inspired many a great master who spent time here during the 19th and 20th centuries, and is still influencing contemporary art today. Damien Hirst’s recent series – The Veil Paintings – drew inspiration from Le Cannet artist Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). Wouldn't it be amazing if Hirst, like his contemporary Tracey Emin in Le Lavandou, chose to experience the light first hand and paint here?
Recently opened at the Villa Sauber in Monaco is Le Jardin Mechanique by Latifa Echakhchas. In response to Alphonse Visconti’s work as the decorator of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo between 1903 and 1924, the Moroccan-born artist has selected numerous details from the paper set models and reproduced them for a new installation conceived specifically for the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (exhibition open until 28th October).
The European Night of Museums is on 19th and is totally free. Museums in the south of France will open their doors late into the evening, allowing visitors to enjoy their display in a new (night time) light. Top recommendations: the Musée Picasso in Antibes, the Musée Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer and the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain in Nice, as well as the numerous commercial galleries in Monaco.
An emerging trend in the art work is the development of private contemporary art foundations, such as the Domaine du Muy from a Parisian gallerist and nephew of French statesman François Mitterrand, Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand, and the Château La Coste Art & Architecture Walk in Le Puy. Both will be announcing new developments in the coming months.
Competition is bringing out the best of these organisations and free from government restrictions, they display art on their own terms. In June, the Fondation Carmignac on the beautiful island of Porquerolles will open. Pre-launch reports suggest it will be incredible: more like a pilgrimage than a visit to a museum. Founded by French former investment banker and fund manager Édouard Carmignac and now led by his son Charles, the venue will be home to a corporate collection of first-class American art shown in spaces that have been created underground to preserve the historic site, yet lit by pools of natural light.
“As in all legends or initiatory journeys, the voyage to the island is always a dual crossing –both physical and psychological,” Charles Carmignac, the director of the foundation, told press visitors in early 2018. “It is about crossing over to the other side.” The public launch on 2nd June is likely to be equally theatrical: barefoot and ritualised. Sometime in June, the Venet Foundation in Le Muy will host an exciting Yves Klein exhibition entitled Pigmet Pur.
For the stylish side of the art world, the Design Parade at the Villa Noailles from 29th June to 1st July is a celebration of all things interior design and architecture. For lovers of the opera, buy your tickets for the 70th Festival d'Aix now: the programme is simply magical.
*Originally published in the #178 edition of Riviera Insider