Musee Picasso's At Chateau Grimaldi Archaeological Site
The Chateau Grimaldi, constructed during the 12th century, acted as a fortress and was raised on the foundations of what was once the Greek town of Antipolis. The Chateau Grimaldi later became the residence of the Bishops of Antibes and the studio of famous artist Pablo Picasso.
Around 1383, Luc and Marc Grimaldi from Monaco, crossbowmen in the army of Queen Jeanne of Navarre, were given Chateau Grimaldi, as well as the land surrounding the fortress as a private estate. The Chateau Grimaldi remained a stronghold of the Grimaldi family until 1608. At that time, Henri VI purchased the town, land, and the port of Antibes, the estate thus becoming part of France.
The Chateau Grimaldi has evolved over the centuries into a barracks, home for the king’s governor and even a town hall in 1702. In 1925, the Antibes Council bought the Chateau Grimaldi for 80,000 francs, which was in a neglected state. It was recognized as a rich archaeological site and renamed the Grimaldi Museum. Later in 1928, the Grimaldi Museum was classified as a historic monument in 1928.
In 1945, Pablo Picasso visited Chateau Grimaldi to view a children’s painting exhibition. Picasso was enthralled by the museum, a wondrous place full of inspiration. He was even asked by the curator for a “little drawing for the museum” and also to use part of the museum as a studio.
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Picasso worked at the Chateau Grimaldi from mid-September to mid-November in 1946 and produced a substantial amount of work both drawings and paintings while there. The Keys of Antibes was created on a wall panel and in September 1947, he painted Ulysses and the mermaids. Picasso created some of his most famous pieces at Chateau Grimaldi. He left those pieces to the city of Antibes, including the famous La Joie de Vivre, Satyr, Sea Urchins, The Goat and drawings Antipolis Suite, Heads of Fauns and Studies for the Female figure. These works of art, of course, prompted the development of the Picasso Museum as we know it today.
In September 1947 the Picasso Room was officially opened and the first exhibition of art of Antibes was shown in the west room, with a large number of people present, the first event that celebrated the artist's stay in Antibes.
Picasso’s use of such extraordinary materials while working at Chateau Garibaldi shows “not only the penury of this post-war period, but also the incredible resourcefulness of the artist to experiment with materials that were available. His paintings show the joy he felt at living in a country that was once more free.”~Picasso Museum
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