Friday, 4 December 2015

Where do all French people go on a Saturday afternoon? Not to the Fernand Leger Museum!

Since I live in such an amazing place, and all my friend keep saying they envied me, I am making a conscious decision that I truly have to make the best of this experience and do all in order to benefit from being in the South of France.
So on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I decided to go and visit a museum that I have heard of, an artist I have often used in my art lessons as I believed students might get inspired by his chunky figures and bright colours, I went to Biot to see Fernand Leger's work. Large building; brightly decorated with several monumental mosaics; with lovely maintained gardens; ripe olive trees, it looked majestic.....

Entrance full fee was 5.50 euros. The Museum looked peaceful. I even took an audio guide, to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I was as excited as a young child going on a lady bird carousel. The building had so much light, the rooms had tall ceilings and later I found out that the building was site specific, designed to host these particular artworks. Leger himself had spent many of his last years between 1949 and 1955 ( when he passed away) in Biot creating many of his ceramic monumental pieces.

 The large outdoor pieces were created with local stone and ceramics by craftsmen after Leger was not longer around, based on his drawings and sketches.
While I did my very keen tour around the grounds and the large rooms of the museum, listened to the guided tour in French, in my constant try to learn more of the local language, I came across very bored museum attendants, killing time searching and typing on their mobile phones. At the desk, the very polite gentleman was watching a cultural program on his laptop. The museum was totally quiet. While I was there, nobody else entered the museum. A private view, that was incredibly special. After many paintings, mosaics, ceramic pieces, I eventually found myself in front of this painting called 'Le Campeur' 1954. It seems Fernand Leger was promoting the idea of the time spent outside, relaxing and enjoying the nature. Although there is a man in the picture who goes across carrying a large pole, looking busy, the rest of the characters are enjoying a Saturday afternoon in the sun, by the river, playing and having a good time. So it seems that was the good idea every French person living in the South of France had that Saturday afternoon. 

So, where all the French people go on a sunny Saturday afternoon? To the Beach!!!!! Enjoying the sun and what nature gives them every day: pleasant warm weather with a slight breeze by the sea.
I kept going around the museum and being amazed by the simplicity and the freshness of some of the pieces. Leger was really honest with his works. He followed his dream of creating large monumental pieces which he carefully planned in various stages. 

After my quiet and fruitful visit, I went to the beach, where most people were sun bathing and enjoying the fresh air. Bought myself a pan bagnat, picked up a blue chair and sat down like the old English did on the Promenade des Anglais, enjoyed the view and indulged in my fat sandwich. What a wonderful afternoon indeed! I felt special. My father told me he would have never dreamed that his children would have ended up travelling the world and doing so well for themselves. He is a proud father. I am a proud daughter and I do indeed appreciate having these special opportunities in my life. Fernand Leger, I salute you, your work, your ambition and your freshness!

Fernand Leger had a good point, enjoying the nature is an important part of life. And as the French do say here, we all get paid in sunshine. I am sure the English would agree with that....

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