Picasso à AntibesPicasso à Antibes
©CRT Côte d'Azur France / Georges VERAN


A child of the Mediterranean, Pablo Picasso chose the Côte d’Azur to spend his last and most fertile years. In his land of inspiration, several events commemorate the death, 50 years ago, of the man whose work embraces the 20th century.


The collections of the first museum in the world dedicated to Picasso overlook the Mediterranean.

Picasso, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, adored the jazz clubs in Juan-les-Pins and the galleries in the Safranier district of old Antibes. In the pre-war period, his Hispano Suiza was often parked in front of La Garoupe beach on the Cap d’Antibes.

Picasso set up home in Antibes in 1946, when he rented the Château Grimaldi, which today houses the Picasso Museum. He worked intensively, producing numerous drawings, paintings and sculptures that have been exhibited in the biggest museums in the world. The works he created in Antibes reflect the influence of the light and surrounding countryside, as well as the region’s cultural riches. Happy with Françoise Gilot, he experimented with unexpected media, cardboard and driftwood, painted walls. His signature even honours the foundations of the former Roman castrum.

The Picasso Museum in Antibes is now an essential location for art lovers, who can admire the artist’s works in a magnificent setting. The museum’s halls are full of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Picasso, as well as works by other artists who worked in the region, such as Nicolas de Staël and Hans Hartung.


Statues, museums, workshops: Picasso left his mark on Vallauris, the potters’ town.
Vallauris, which is fragranced by the orange flower, is the capital of ceramic arts on the Riviera. It was in this town that Picasso discovered ceramics and began to work in this art. He created his pottery workshop in his Vallaurian house, known as La Galloise.
Fascinated by ceramics, he began to work with local craftspeople. Pablo Picasso took his first steps at the Madoura workshop; he shaped, moulded, fired, formed and deformed. He quickly acquired a great mastery over this technique and created several pieces. Owls and mythological figures decorated plates, pitchers and compote dishes, in all nearly 4,000 unique pieces. The Magnelli Museum showcases some of these in the Priory of the abbots of Lérins. The nave of his chapel, a National Museum, houses the powerful “War and Peace”.


Perched in the hills, the Minotaur’s lair was host to an abundant creativity.

When Pablo Picasso visited the city of Cannes in the 1940s, he left an indelible mark on it.

Picasso was attracted by the beauty and light of the Côte d’Azur and decided to spend some of his time there. In the 1950s he lived with Jacqueline Roque at Villa Californie, in the Costebelle district. Nicknamed the Minotaur’s lair, his workshop was overflowing with portraits and landscapes as seen from a window, crossed by the sea and a lush vegetation.

Picasso’s presence in Cannes was much appreciated by the local artistic community. He was often invited to events and exhibitions, and nurtured friendships with other artists and celebrities from the region.

Frequently walking along La Croisette, he regularly visited the exhibitions at Palais Miramar or the Palais des Festivals. During one of these exhibitions, critics lauded the film: Le Mystère Picasso filmed by Henri Clouzot in 1955.

That year, Picasso created a sculpture in homage to Cannes. This was a work in bronze, entitled “La Joie de vivre” (the joy of living), which is located on the promenade of La Croisette, opposite the sea. This sculpture portrays a woman holding a bouquet of flowers, the symbol of the elegance and beauty of the town.

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Having come to Mougins with Dora Maar, Picasso died there on 8 April 1973 beside Jacqueline Roque.

Pablo Picasso finally set up in the town of Mougins in 1961. This peaceful and picturesque town was his place of inspiration. Until his death in 1973, at the age of 91, he spent the last years of his life in his large stone house called “Notre-Dame-de-Vie” [Our Lady of Life], creating some of his most innovative and revolutionary works.

Even though Picasso had continued to create works in his characteristic style, he also explored new techniques and new materials in Mougins, such as objects found in the countryside: stones, twigs, bits of driftwood, etc. Inspired by the narrow streets of Mougins, he developed a new technique: lithography, a printing method that involves drawing directly onto a limestone or metal sheet and using ink to transfer the image onto paper. In particular, a series of women’s portraits.

As a whole, Picasso’s years in Mougins were a prolific and experimental period for the artist, during which he continued to push the boundaries. The town of Mougins became a place of pilgrimage for art lovers seeking to discover the heritage left by Picasso. The Notre-Dame-de-Vie house is today a museum dedicated to the artist’s memory and houses a collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Picasso.


Matisse, Chagall, Cocteau and Léger also set up home on the Côte d’Azur in the middle of the 20th century.

The Côte d’Azur was a veritable paradise for 20th century artists.

2023 commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death in Mougins, but also the anniversaries of two Nice hotspots dedicated to his friends. The Chagall and Matisse Museums are celebrating 50 and 60 years of existence, respectively. The Rosary Chapel in Vence by Henri Matisse, and the one by Jean Cocteau in Villefranche-sur-Mer bear witness to the cultural importance of a Côte d’Azur frequented in the middle of the century by artists and patrons.

  • Henri Matisse was attracted by the bright colours of the Côte d’Azur. He painted several canvases, including the famous “The Dance”.
  • Marc Chagall created several paintings representing biblical scenes, as well as Côte d’Azur landscapes. Chagall also created mosaics for the Saint Mary chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer.
  • Jean Cocteau wrote poems, plays and films on the Côte d’Azur.
  • Fernand Léger was a cubist and modernist artist. A teacher at the School of Decorative Arts in Nice, he influenced several local artists with the bright colours and geometric shapes of the Côte d’Azur, which are reflected in his abstract art.


On the Côte d’Azur, a host of events introduces us to Pablo Picasso’s private life.

  • On 8 April, “Picasso 1969 – 1972. The end of the beginning” opens at the National Picasso Museum in Antibes (until 2 July 2023), the Fiftieth anniversary.
  • On the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, the town of Vallauris Golfe-Juan pays homage to him throughout the weekend of 6 & 7 May. The Magnelli Museum is exhibiting ceramics in Shapes and Metamorphoses (6 May – 30 October 2023), then Picasso and goldsmithery (24 June – 25 September 2023).
  • Exceptional: in Mougins, the opening of the artist’s room and Picasso as seen by others at the Mougins Museum of Classic Art(6 April – 30 September 2023).
  • Exhibition “Monaco Modernity and Classicism” at the Princely Palace in Monaco from 16 September to 15 October 2023.