Artists on the French Riviera

At FIAC 2019, Gagosian will honour the French Riviera with a presentation that will pay tribute to the famous interior of Villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

During his stay in Santo Sospir between 1950 and 1963, Jean Cocteau “tattooed” the bare walls and ceilings of the villa with illustrations depicting divinities of Greek mythology. Gagosian recreates the fantastic figures of Cocteau at FIAC in an immersive and theatrical staging that evokes the spirit of one of the architectural treasures of the Riviera. Pace Gallery recently presented an exhibition of works by Kevin Francis Gray.

Works by artists who had an affinity for the French Riviera will be on view including Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein, Fernand Leger, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, and Pablo Picasso among others.

Picasso’s jugs and ceramic dishes will be on view and for sale. More paintings and works on paper – such as Cocteau’s faun Faun in Tears (1939), executed in the same fluid and linear style as his frescoes at Santo Sospir, and the unique painted and framed ceramic work of Picasso Couple (1963) – illustrate the creative scope that the Riviera has provided to the many artists who settled and worked there.

The brightly colored mobile made by Calder, Boomerangs and Targets (1973) and the important sculpture of Giacometti, Head on base (called head without skull) (around 1958), represent the continuous relationship between these artists and the Marguerite and Aimé Foundation Maeght. Located outside Nice, in the famous village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the building of the foundation was designed in 1964 by the Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert (Miro Foundation in Barcelona too) in collaboration with various painters and sculptors, resulting in a a museum complex that harmoniously combines art, nature and architecture.


Images: Pablo Picasso, Faune, 1956, Painted and glazed ceramic, 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 inches, 15 x 15 cm. © Succession Picasso 2019, Photo by Thomas Lannes, Courtesy Gagosian. — Jean Cocteau in front of one of the several murals he painted on the walls of Francine Weisweiller’s Villa Santo Sospir, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, 1954, 1954 ©; Photo: Edward Quinn; Courtesy Gagosian.