Monday, October 28, 2019


Greetings from the Red Cardinal Garden of Neglect...
which has performed admirably during our long absence and a torrid heatwave, with the help of kind neighbours and Mr Mower Man...

When I studied Art History, an artist who really appealed to me was Paul Cezanne [1836-1906], Post-Impressionist and forerunner of Cubism.  
One of my lecturers was particularly fond of the breakthrough painting 'Still Life with Plaster Cast' 1895.  You can read about it here    

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Google Image 'Still Life with Plaster Cast', Paul Cezanne

Just north of the Old Town in Aix-en-Provence is his former home with upstairs studio, which remain much as Cezanne left them.   His coat hangs on the wall, along with his easel, an unfinished picture still in position, and simple objects that featured in his portraits: the ginger jar, fruit bowl, and of course the cupid.

Cezanne frequently walked a short distance up the hill to his vantage point for the spectacular views of Montagne Saint-Victoire, one of his favourite painting subjects.   

To keep us well-informed there were copies of the most famous of these paintings, which are held in Art Museums in many parts of the world.

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Paul Cezanne 'Mont Sainte-Victoire'
Dear Reader, I was unbelievably thrilled by this particular Art Pilgrimage...

By way of an intermission, our agapanthus have begun to bloom...

In the countryside surrounding Aix-en-Provence we enjoyed a day at the Chateau La Coste winery.  This estate combines fine food and wine, contemporary art and architecture, and beautiful vineyards.

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In addition to the vineyards, a central pavilion designed by architect Tadao Ando contains an Art Centre, restaurant, and bookshop, with adjacent vast infinity pool of water..

Alexander Calder: 'Small Crinkly' 1976

Louise Bourgeois 'Crouching Spider' 2003

Larry Neufeld 'Donegal' 2013

Tom Shannon 'Drop' 2009

Sean Scully 'Wall of Light Cubed' 2007

Lunch was a delicious and elegant affair..

The many sculptures were displayed among the vineyards, making a beautiful walking tour before lunch and wine tasting a must...
It was another of the major highlights of our tour in Provence..

In other news, Jacaranda season arrived while we were away, and our tree has finally gotten the message and begun to bloom...

Our Sunday treat this week was the Ron Howard documentary movie 'Pavarotti' about the legendary Italian tenor.
If you love opera, you will probably love it... as we did.  

One of the greatest tenor voices of the 20th century, he appears to have been a lovely, generous, hard-working and charismatic man.
Sadly, he passed away at the early age of 71.

It was wonderful to see and hear those magical arias once again...


Friday, October 25, 2019


From Nice, our tour group explored the rich art history of the surrounding area.
The climate is so perfect, it is no surprise that Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and many others spent time here, often in their later years.

Here are some of my highlights:

The Marc Chagall National Museum, created with the cooperation of the artist himself.

Chagall (1887-1985) designed the stained glass for the concert hall within the museum:

The beautiful town of Vence, where Henri Matisse 1869-1954) lived during World War II.

The Chapel of the Rosary was planned and carried out by Matisse for the Congregation of the Dominican Nuns.  Interior photography of the chapel was not permitted, but I did get a postcard or two:

It was an exquisite little space..

The attached museum was beautifully curated, with photos, sketches, and the silk vestments also designed by Matisse.

Matisse in his old age, drawing with a stick the designs for the chapel.

Red Cardinal: 'Rainy Day Impression'
Clever arrangement to show Renoir's painting of his house

The Renoir Museum, Cagnes sur Mer,
the final address of the painter Pierre-August Renoir (1841-1919).

I love a pilgrimage!
It was very affecting to walk in his house, see his studio, and admire some original Renoir paintings..

View of the Mediterranean from the terrace..

Madame Renoir
The Musee Picasso, Antibes, and, below, Picasso's own painting of it.

This sweet guide, dancing like the figure in the painting..

Picasso's instantly recognizable sculptures of his young partner, Marie Therese..

Picasso loved birds, and kept pigeons much of his life.

That seems to be enough art activity for today.

Last week Prince William and Duchess Catherine went to Pakistan, and I for one loved her beautiful and appropriate fashions.

What do you think?

Today I had some painful and rather gruesome dental work done.
Blood was involved.  I am off to take medication.