Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart

Born in Maisons-Laffitte, near Paris, Jean Cocteau reigned over Paris for 50 years, but the French Riviera remained for him a true haven and inspiration.
By Justine Fiordelli

Poet, novelist, illustrator, playwright but also a filmmaker, Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a talented artist who managed to construct a true love affair with the Côte d'Azur for the duration of his career. Total and visionary, Cocteau soon considered himself to be Mediterranean at heart. In love with the region, from the 1950s he lived in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the villa of his friend and patron Francine Weisweiller, Santo Sospir. And here began a prolific artistic cycle for him.

After entirely painting and “tattooing” the walls and ceilings of the villa Santo Sospir, he continued his journey on the Côte d’Azur by taking in an interest in various buildings in the area such as Saint Peter's Chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer, and the wedding rooms of the City Halls of Menton and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, which he painted entirely. In a different style, he had a go at the decoration of a theater in Cap d'Ail and thus invented the “Menton style” characterized by the omnipresence of colorful arabesques.

Deceased in 1963, Jean Cocteau left traces of his talent in many cities along the French Riviera including Menton, where a museum dedicated to him and is currently home to the exhibition “Cocteau, Matisse, Picasso, Mediterranean”. Plenty to allow you to discover or rediscover the artistic career of these three Modern artists who each considered the French Riviera as a valuable source of inspiration.

“Cocteau, Matisse, Picasso, Mediterranean”
Until November 3, 2014
Musée Jean Cocteau
2 quai de Monléon
06500 Menton
Tél : +33 (0)4 89 81 52 50
www.museecocteaumenton.fr
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Villa Santo Sospir
Photography José Nicolas
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Villa Santo Sospir
Photography José Nicolas
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Cocteau, Mediterranean at Heart
Villa Santo Sospir
Photography José Nicolas

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