Pablo Picasso left an indelible mark on the village of Mougins where he lived in a somptuous house , “Notre-Dame-de-Vie“.
An influence on Picasso’s art
From 1919, Picasso made his first stays on the Côte d’Azur where he found a second “home”, far from his native Spain and the bustle of Paris. These successive changes of environment will have a profound influence on himself and on his art in general. The story with Mougins began in the summer of 1936, during which he stayed at the Vaste Horizon hotel in the village. The village will host his first love with Dora Maar and happy holidays with his no less famous friends Cocteau, Éluard or Man Ray to name but a few. He would return to Mougins on several occasions for two years, but it was not until much later, in 1961, that he settled there definitively by buying the Mas Notre-Dame de Vie, a vast Provençal villa of 800m² living space, belonging to the Guinness family.
Winston Churchill used to spend time in the villa
Winston Churchill used to spend time there during his holidays where he indulged in activities like painting before it became the property of Picasso. The villa has many bedrooms, additional accommodation on three levels, a swimming pool and gardens filled with Mediterranean essences. It offers a magnificent view of the bay of Cannes and the Estérel. The calm and serenity of the place strongly inspired Picasso. He was then very productive during this period, taking an interest not only in painting, but also in sculpture, ceramics and photography. Picasso fills the farmhouse with his works and his personal collections.
Picasso wanted to be buried in the garden
Many evenings and exhibitions will take place in this villa, which is both a studio and a residence until Picasso’s death in 1973. When he died, Jacqueline wanted to respect his wish to be buried in the garden of the farmhouse. However, the slowness of municipal authorizations forced him to bury him elsewhere. Pablo Picasso now rests in front of the main facade of his house in Vauvenargues. His wife Jacqueline lived in the villa until her death in 1986. The Notre-Dame-de-Vie farmhouse will be renamed “L’Antre du Minotaure” in 2007 to pay homage to the artist’s favorite artistic theme. The name refers to the half-man, half-bull monster from Greek mythology, a particularly symbolic creature for Picasso.
A new name
Picasso’s house passed into the hands of a Dutch dealer and art lover who put millions of euros into major renovations. He refurbished the farmhouse while preserving every detail of the artist’s studio. Thus, we can still see the palettes or the mixtures of colors made by the artist. In 2017, the farmhouse was sold by Picasso’s daughter-in-law, Catherine Hutin. The new owner Rayo Whitanage, a New Zealand businessman of Sri Lankan origin, is planning renovations. The farmhouse is now a residence open to a minority within the framework of private visits. You can see it from the Notre-Dame-de-Vie chapel in Mougins.
L’Antre du Minotaure is open every day in July and August as well as weekends in May, June and September from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.