With its varied landscapes and generous sunshine, the French Riviera is a mosaic of colours and lights. The bluish shades of the sea contrast with the ochre and green tones of the coast. Many famous artists fell under its spell and decided to take up residence there during their lifetime. They created some of their finest works and now have museums devoted to them.
Artists and museums of the French Riviera
Cagnes-Sur-Mer according to Renoir
Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) lived in Paris for the most part of his life. This painter of the Impressionist movement is known for his works representing people, but also landscapes. In 1905, he acquired a domain in Cagnes-sur-Mer, in order to find a more favourable climate to his health. It is in this region that he painted some of his finest works, depicting olive groves, orange trees and reflections of the sea. His paintings evoke pure visual perception, with the use of colour to compose his works. Nowadays, it is possible to visit his property, which has been transformed into a museum. His studio is also open to the public, containing his amazing paintings and exhibition sculptures.
Matisse's French Riviera
Henri Matisse (1869-1954), originally from northern France, settled in Nice in 1917. Master of Fauvism, this painter expressed this artistic trend through his paintings. He painted landscapes of the South of France with lively and joyful hues. In style, he moved a little bit closer to abstract art. His paintings, shapes and subjects are simplified and the use of colour is predominant. The games of light and shadow are highlighted by these simple shapes and stimulate the imagination. A villa has been transformed into a Matisse museum close to Nice.
Signac and Pointillism in Saint-Tropez
Paul Signac (1863-1935) discovered the beauty of the French Riviera in 1892. He moved to Saint-Tropez and created his studio there. Working with great painters such as Seurat and Pissarro, Signac distinguished himself as a non-conformist artist. Together, they found a new pictorial technique: pointillism. His works, sometimes in bright colours, sometimes pastel, are made by small spots of paint, close to each other. This technique gives depth to works that, seen from afar, reveal new hues. Signac's works include portraits and landscapes. He loved to paint nature, trees and fishing ports. These works of great beauty can be admired at the Annonciade Museum in Saint-Tropez.
Picasso and Cubism
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a spanish painter who lived in France for much of his life. He stands out from most painters by creating a singular artistic trend: Cubism. By removing perspective and moving away from realism, Picasso created scenes in two dimensions. The shapes and figures are geometric and simple, often distorted or offset. In his representations of Mediterranean landscapes, the plans are rearranged, giving the illusion of fully visible scenes, without the need to move to contemplate them. The colours are generally bright and blue is very dominant. Many works of this extraordinary artist are held in the Grimaldi museum, in Antibes, and in the Picasso museum of Vallauris. These places were a source of deep inspiration for the Spanish artist.