About Me

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pablo Picasso in the South of France

The artist Pablo Picasso died April 1973, exactly 40 years ago in the South of France. He moved here towards the latter part of his live, to Provence where he spent most of the happiest and some of the most productive years of his life. Picasso left a strong mark in the South of France, both culturally and emotionally. Today, art lovers can visit museums in Antibes, Vallauris and Vauvenargues following his trail in the South of France.

 "Action is the foundation key to all success."

 This wasn’t just an idle quote from the artist.  Pablo Picasso thrived on action. He loved movement, changes, exploring new areas, dabbling in new ways to express himself as an artist. Even in his romantic relationships there was much movement – Picasso, it seemed changed his women each time he changed his style.


The move to Provence in 1946 seemed to have an even more profound change in the artist. His blue period in Paris was over and from Antibes his first stop, he produced some of his most joyful works.

As you look out of the fortified windows of Chateau Grimaldi out towards the blue Mediterranean, it’s easy to see where his inspiration came from and understand his enthusiasm.  

“I’m not only going to paint, I’ll decorate the museum too,” he said jubilantly.
His painting, La Joie de Vivre reflected the mood of the sixty five year old; France was free once more, Europe was recovering from World War 2 and the master was in love.


Picasso then moved to Vallauris a couple of miles away -- to discover the wonderful world of ceramics. He played, experimented and worked with unconventional tools such as kitchen knives for surface patterns, plates and cups, whatever he found interesting.

His major artwork in 1952, War and Peace was the last of his political compositions. When Picasso donated the two compositions painted on hardboard panels of over 100m2 to the French State in 1956, Vallauris gained its own Musée Picasso.


Picasso spent some time in Cannes with new partner Jacqueline Roque but it was getting too noisy there, too many high buildings were spoiling his view of the Mediterranean, and besides, he was getting internationally famous.


Another move in 1959. This time the couple moved inland to Vauvenargues near Aix en Provence at the foot of the famous Mount ST. Victoire.
When Picasso bought the property he was already in his seventies; he assumed he would spend the rest of his life there so had most of his bronzes and paintings stacked in the many rooms of Château Vauvenargues.
His appetite for painting did not stop though, he continued with a passion. The famous, Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe, was painted in Vauvenargues.


When he turned 80 the couple moved back to the Cannes area in 1961; Picasso wanted to be nearer his doctors.  The village Mougins, was not new to Picasso; he’d already been to this quiet hillside location. Picasso spent the last 12 years of his life there until his death in April 1973.

The artist who said “love is the greatest refreshment in life” was lucky. He had Jacqueline by his side when he died.

 Trailing with Picasso in the South of France:
Musée Picasso in Château Grimaldi Antibes www.antibes-juanlespins.com
Musée National Picasso Vallauris and War and Peace memorial, www.musee-picasso-vallauris.fr

Château de Vauvenargues, Aix-en-Provence; group visits only arranged through Musée Granet www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr





  1. This post is really incredible, one of the most helpful I have ever read, indeed. Dora Maar

  2. Good to get this, thank you. Picasso did get a new lease of life here in the South.