Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Azure Dreams of an Art Legend; NICE This Month Marks 150 Years since Henri Matisse Was Born. Lara Dunn Follows the Light and Colour to His Beloved Riviera

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Azure Dreams of an Art Legend; NICE This Month Marks 150 Years since Henri Matisse Was Born. Lara Dunn Follows the Light and Colour to His Beloved Riviera

Article excerpt

Byline: Lara Dunn

HENRI MATISSE was born in northern France, the son of a merchant, and studied law in Paris before, aged 20, embarking on the path that led him to become one of France's best-loved modernist painters. His work in the capital and travels in the 1890s were when he began develop the love of bold colour for which he has become known -- but it was the South of France that really captivated and inspired him.

ed he cap-890s to d s d here reatest ed'Azur It was where he chose to stay for 37 years, and where he created many of greatest works. A visit to the Cote d'Azur is an off-season delight for anyone, but lovers of Matisse are in for a real treat -- especially this month, the 150th anniversary of his birth. Watching even the weak winter light create coloured patterns on the floor of the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence, just an hour's bus journey from chic Nice, it's easy to imagine a blossoming of spirituality in the twilight years of the artist who created it. Matisse's former nurse and erstwhile muse, Monique Bourgeois, chose to enter the Dominican convent in Vence in 1943. It had no chapel of its own, so she asked her former employer and friend, now virtually bedridden and in his late seventies, to help. The result is the culmination of the artist's entire career, spanning everything from a mural of the Stations of the Cross, to the stained glass and candlesticks in the chapel, to several sets of chasubles. With a museum filled with preparatory works, and just a 20-minute walk from the town that takes you past the artist's house Villa le Reve, the uniquely serene chapel is a must-see.

mu law ne ga e Vence, where Matisse spent the last four years of his life, is well worth the bus journey from Nice -- a bargain at just [euro]1.50. On the edge of the pretty walled old town, the Musee de Vence/Fondation Emile Hugues is another Matisse hotspot. It's home to a number of important studies and works, including pages from the book Jazz, and just a few paces from the art-filled boutique hotel La Maison du Frene wwMM tio ano h importa pag Continued on Page 41 Continued from Page 39 (lamaisondufrene.com). Down by the coast in Nice, the artist's journey towards the chapel is clear to see.

Strolling along the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais, it's easy to assume a connection between the vibrant blue of the sky and Matisse's frequent use of that particular hue, especially in his later works. Even during the winter it's positively eyewatering. In fact, the artist first arrived in the winter of 1917, remaining in his room at the Hotel Beau Rivage (hotelnicebeaurivage.com) due to the cold weather. …

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