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ART TODAY: A STUDY VISIT IN NICE 2018

 

We chose a return visit to Nice for our study visit this year; on Thursday, 11th October, nine members of the Art Today Group made an early start for the 11.30am BA flight from Heathrow terminal 5.

 

We were based at the Hotel Aston La Scala in Nice, where our first afternoon and evening were spent enjoying the blue sky, warm sun and the serious matter of choosing a restaurant.

On Friday we walked from our hotel to the ‘Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine’. The much publicised temporary exhibition was by Bernar Venet. Perhaps not typical of his work, which includes choreography and sculpture, this exhibition was a response to mathematical formulae and geometric shapes. After viewing these black and white images, we craved colour and certainly found it in the other exhibits in the permanent collection, work by Niki de St Phalle, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and many others.

The Musée de Beaux Arts was the destination for our afternoon visit where, among the more traditional works of art, the paintings and windows of Raoul Dufy and Pierre Bonnard were appreciated.

Saturday saw us queuing for the bus to Vence and enjoying the views en route. We all managed the steep walk to the beautiful Maeght Gallery, but there was some disappointment when we discovered that the stars of their permanent collection, Giacometti, Braque etc had been stored, to allow space for the temporary exhibition of work by Jan Fabre. This exhibition was based on the artist’s interest in neurological research, it certainly provided us with a challenge. However the sculpture in the gardens was superb, and we did see two pieces by Giacometti and one glorious painting by Marc Chagall.

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After a delicious lunch, the highlight of our day was a visit to ‘La Chapelle du Rosaire’, created at the end of his life, by Henri Matisse. The sun shone through the full length windows, the colours reflected in the white walls and white tiled floor.We sat in silence, entranced by the beauty of this very special place.

Another perfect blue sky greeted us on Sunday as we sprinted for a bus to the Musée Matisse. We prepare ourselves for the art to come by sitting in the nearby park drinking coffee and enjoying the sunshine. Perhaps we were a little disappointed, craving the glorious colours of the painter’s work, as this gallery concentrates on the biographical details of Matisse and his later work in Nice.

Our next visit to the Musée Chagall was a total joy. The large biblical paintings are endlessly fascinating; the artist’s use of colour, the interweaving of Old Testament narrative with twentieth century history, provided us with so much visual delight. Sadly we had to leave to make our way down the hill to our hotel for a last dinner together.

Monday 15th October and there were clouds in the sky for our last morning.

Most of us spent time wandering around the ‘Flower Market’, transformed on Mondays by hundreds of stalls selling second hand goods, beautiful embroidered linens, exquisite Limoges china, furniture and even gorgeous chandeliers as well as the inevitable rubbish!

We met again for lunch at ‘Le Tapenade’ in the Old Town, and it was here, between courses, that we discovered emails informing us that our return flight had been cancelled.

So, the last part of our last day was tedious. Much sitting and waiting; eventually we were on flights for Heathrow, where we were reunited, sorted into our two taxis, and home for most of us by one o’clock.

Our thanks to Pauline Moseley for an excellent taxi service, to George Davies for all the travel and hotel details and to Anna Diamond and Pat Davies for organising the itinerary.

Pat Davies

10/18