Matisse lived in Nice from 1918 to 1954. This is where he created his best work, under the Mediterranean sun. When the wind, called the mistral, blew away the clouds, he knew he would stay and work in that light where colour would shine.
Musée Matisse in Nice is located by the archeological site of ancient Roman baths. The building was originally the Palais Gubernatis, (1670). It now houses a magnificent collection of work by Matisse that is a ‘must see’ for any visitor to this beautiful Mediterranean city. We took bus number 15 from near the Place Massena, as it’s a long uphill walk. We did, however, walk back down through the luxurious neighbourhood of Cimiez.
The museum collection is huge and includes some works that show the artist’s creative process as a series beginning with a line drawing. The sculptural series of “Jeanette”, comprising five versions of the subject shows the progression from a representative object, the head of Jeanette, to a shape that could be a flower when observed from the rear. Other series, such as the Jazz posters or the poster for the city of Nice remain as iconic images. The cutouts, done in the last period of his life when he was restricted to working from a chair or his bed show a brilliant use of shape and form. I have had a copy of the ‘nu bleu ’ in my home for years.