The Picasso Museum in Antibes is enchanting. I was totally taken by it. The museum is in the 12th Century Château Grimaldi, a national monument that fronts the narrow cobbled streets of the old town and backs on to the Mediterranean Sea. The Château has a long history and as its name suggests the Grimaldi family of Monaco once owned it.
The building is beautiful. There are stone walls, limed beams, sea views from the windows and a mix of marble, wood, brick and terracotta floors. The charming cool light space is a perfect backdrop to the works of art by Picasso and some other 20th Century artists.
Picasso came to live just outside the town of Antibes in 1946. He was living in a small apartment and had no workplace. The curator of what was then a small provincial antiquities museum in the château offered him studio space on the second floor. Picasso spent a prolific two months there until the cold drove him out in November. When he left that winter he donated twenty-three paintings and forty-four drawings to the museum. Picasso worked with the local Madoura Pottery in 1947 and made a further donation of seventy-eight of his ceramic works in 1948. Château Grimaldi was renamed the Picasso Museum in 1966. Purchases and a donation by Jacqueline Picasso in 1991 have enhanced the museum’s collection.
On the terrace overlooking the sea there is a permanent exhibition of magnificent sculptures by a variety of artists including Germaine Richer.
The Musée Picasso is a captivating place. It is not large; if you are in the area with an hour or two to spare it is well worth visiting.