French Riviera monument : Picasso Museum in Antibes Juan-les-pins

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Picasso Museum

In 1925, the State fixed a sale price of F80,000 on the Chateau Grimaldi, and it was bought by Antibes Council (with a F50,000 subsidy and money raised through sixty donations organised by the Society of Friends). The chateau thus became the Grimaldi Museum, and Romuald Sor de la Souchère was the curator. Three years later, the building was classified as a historic monument.

From August 1946, Picasso and his young companion, Françoise Gilot, stayed with the printer Louis Fort at his villa “Pour Toi” in Golfe Juan port. Sculptor and photographer Michel Sima became acquainted with Romuald Dor de la Souchère, who knew Pablo Picasso. “One day at the beach, he had the idea to ask him for a little drawing for the museum. Picasso, as was his style, said that he would do it, but wanted first to visit the museum.” (Jaime Sabartès in Picasso in Antibes, René Drouin, publisher, 1948)

Picasso was enthusiastic: “I'm not only going to paint, I'll decorate the museum too.” (Francoise Gilot in Living with Picasso, Calmann-Levy 1965). He worked at the chateau from mid-September to mid-November and produced a great deal of work, both drawings and paintings, among them The Keys of Antibes, on a wall panel. In September 1947, he painted Ulysses and the mermaids.

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