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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Inspired by Fondation Maeght

 City View Villefranche-sur-Mer   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas 16 x 13 inches
 Laurie Fox Pessemier    Mimosa and rose petals   Acrylic/canvas  14 x 14 inches

Impression Cocteau Chapel  Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas  16 x 13
Boat  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  16 x 24 inches
Lighthouse Cap Ferrat   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas    28 x 36 inches
 Bussano Vecchio above the Greenhouses   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  11 x 18 inches
Bussan Vecchio  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas   12 x 12

Artnotes:  Inspired by the Foundation Maeght

A major path through the sculpture garden was roped off.  I thought I would just ask the gardener to read me the sign indicating the artist.  “Which sculpture?” He asked.  The one with the ladder, I pointed out.  “Oh, that’s Dietman,”  he continued, “and that one is Calder, and the mosaic is Talcoat.”  I knew then we were in a very special place, where the apparent maintenance crew knew all about the art.

Yesterday we visited the Foundation Maeght in St. Paul de Vence.    If I knew how great it was, I would have gone sooner.

I went because I thought the life size figure painting retrospective for  Djamel Tatah looked interesting, and it was.  Since the 1980s he has been painting life size (anonymous) people, arranged in groups, or singularly, on different grounds, using photography, wax, paint, wood…   The hanging of the 50 or so works in the show was phenomenal – when you looked up the stairwell, the portion of the painting with a single man seemed to stand at the head of the stairs.  White background work was hung in the sunny room with a stained glass piece by Miro, so the image appeared to have come in a on sunbeam.

The architecture, by Lluis Sert, was remarkable.   I can’t do it justice with words – the building was built to house some of the greatest artwork of the twentieth century.  Artists, architects and benefactors (Marguerite and Aimee Maeght) worked closely together to realize the project.  There is a sculpture garden by Gaicometti, and a “labyrinth” by Miro (this is phenomenal), works by Pol Bury, Chagall, Joan Mitchell, Bonnard, just to name a few.

We started the tour at the chapel of St. Bernard.  The most minimal, abstract, stations of the cross were executed by Ubac. There was a stained glass window made for the chapel by Braque.  All of these things were made in the 1960s for the dedication of the museum in 1964 (thanks also to Andre Malraux).
I have never seen such a “single thought” running through a contemporary property.  When one visits Versailles, or Malmaison, one can say “oh, there’s that wonderful theme”, but most new museums, houses, properties are designed on a computer, by a “team” and there is inevitably an incongruous element (not to mention the overwhelming souvenir shop).  Not so at the Foundation Maeght.  Yes, in the shop were actual signed lithographs (not posters) by the artists represented in the museum, but no Monet pencil boxes.   

 I was overwhelmed by the perfection.  I am tempted to become a member so I can access their library.
I was so thankful for this Monday at St Paul de Vence, sunny and bright.  The rain started again on Tuesday afternoon, and continued, with few small breaks until today, Saturday.  I managed to get out last night and paint a large view of the lighthouse at Cap Ferrat and the bay.  Blair has taken each opportunity to dash out and add a stroke or two to his work.   These are heavy art headwinds we are dealing with.

I have artnotes piled up for the coming weeks, spending much time before the computer.  When we’re not watching Mr. Moto movies (or Broadway Danny Rose, my favorite movie, thank you V for bringing it), I am writing you art letters.

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