Antibes, musée Picasso

Picasso and the Côte d’Azur: in the footsteps of the master of modern art

The father of Cubism and an artistic genius, Pablo Picasso has handed down a magnificent legacy to the art world. Set on the Côte d’Azur – his spiritual home – the Picasso Museum in Antibes and Pablo Picasso National Museum in Vallauris unveil the infinite riches of the artist’s world.

From Spain to Provence and the Côte d’Azur

Pablo Picasso fell in love with the South of France’s inimitable quality of light and never ceased to explore the beauty of Provence and the Côte d’Azur, from Sorgues to Arles, Ménerbes, Vauvenargues, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, Vallauris, Cannes and Mougins, where he died in 1973… These sunny lands, ceaselessly echoing his birthplace Spain, provided him with limitless sources of inspiration and forged his fame as an independent and visionary creator.

A giant of modern art

A militant jack of all trades…

After arriving in France in the early 20th century, Picasso, a militant artist, revolutionized the art world and overturned ways of thinking. The father of the Cubist movement (“The Young Ladies of Avignon”, 1906), he was also a sculptor, engraver and ceramist, and a fervent critic of the Spanish Civil War. He left a deep and lasting impression in his wake. On the Côte d’Azur, two locations now pay tribute to his work: the Picasso Museum in Antibes and Pablo Picasso National Museum in Vallauris.

Picasso Museum in Antibes

The master’s studio

Push open the doors to the Picasso Museum in Antibes and enter into Picasso’s world… It’s almost as if you can feel his presence here and it’s not surprising – Picasso knew this place like the back of his hand. It all started in 1946. At the time, the museum, an ancient castle and former home of the Grimaldi family set facing the Med, belonged to Antibes town council. Its curator suggested to Picasso that he use part of it as a studio, to which he answered, “I’m not only going to paint, I’ll decorate the museum too!” He kept his promise and just a few months later, the Museum already housed 23 of Picasso’s paintings and 44 drawings.

“His” museum

The story didn’t end there: in 1948, Picasso enriched the collection with 78 ceramics created at the famous Madoura studio in Vallauris. The collection never ceased to grow over the years, expanding from an improvised studio to become “his” museum. In 1966, the museum officially became the Picasso Museum – the first ever dedicated to him. Everyday scenes and still lifes feature among the iconic works shown in Antibes, alongside “La Joie de Vivre” and “Satyr, Faun and Centaur with Trident”, reflecting Picasso’s fascination with Greek mythology.

Pablo Picasso National Museum

Picasso, War and Peace

Deeply affected by the massacres of war, Picasso expressed his indignation and hopes through his work. The Bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 submerged him with pain and rage and inspired one of his most famous and darkest works “Guernica(1937). Just after WWII, he became a member of the Communist Party and focused heavily on the theme of peace.

A pilgrimage to Vallauris

Situated in the heart of the historic quarter of Vallauris, the Pablo Picasso National Museum, an ancient medieval chapel, harbours two monumental works by the artist installed in 1954: “War” and Peace”, set facing each other and joining at the top of the arched ceiling. A hymn to a pacified world, they were painted from 300 preliminary sketches and mounted on a specially-designed wooden structure. A mural entitled The Four Corners of the World” completes the ensemble. This sacred site offers an eternal song of praise to Picasso’s immeasurable talent.