Christian Bérard at the NMNM, in Monaco

The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco features an exhibition honouring French artist, illustrator and designer Christian Bérard (1902–1949) from July 9 to October 16, 2022 at Villa Paloma. The show showcases sets by decorator and Yves Saint Laurent’s former collaborator Jacques Grange and Bérard’s works dialogue with Nick Mauss’ incredible paintings.

A painter, a designer of sets and costumes for theatre and film productions, a fashion designer and interior designer, Bérard was an experimenter who pushed the boundaries of painting and the definition of artist. His portraits, associated with the sets he designed for the stage and cinema, and his most prestigious interior designs are an extension of his flamboyant personality. it was far from Paris, among his friends and patrons who lived by the Mediterranean that he created some of his most emblematic works, which were often inspired by the Italian painters of the Quattrocento.

Christian Bérard: Excentrique Bébé continues the NMNM programme of exhibitions dedicated to the innovative ideas and style developed by Serge de Diaghilev in Monte Carlo. The cross-disciplinary approach taken by the founder of the Ballets Russes brought radical transformation to the decorative arts during the 1910s and ’20s. Bérard continues to inspire a generation of emerging artists and designers today.

The show follows a series of exhibitions titled Portraits d’Intérieurs and Designing Dreamsa Celebration of Leon Bakst, presenting the extraordinary modernity of Christian Bérard, referred to as Bébé by his friends and collaborators.

Featuring interior views and Mediterranean landscapes, the exhibition references some of Bérard’s favourite places including Monte Carlo, where he produced his first designs for the Ballets Russes in 1932, Tamaris, where he had his studio during the summer period, the Lily Pastré estate in Marseille, and the villa belonging to Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles in Hyères. Over 300 paintings, drawings, photographs and interior decorations trace Christian Bérard’s encounters and collaborations with the great creators of the time, including Jean Cocteau, Louis Jouvet, Christian Dior and Gabrielle Chanel.