We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Modern art and the French Riviera

Weekend-long art history course

Short course

  • 14 March 2020, 10am — 5pm
  • 15 March 2020, 10am — 5pm

Book now
Part of our

Picasso and Paper

events programme
Go to exhibition page

Henri-Edmond Cross (Henri-Edmond Delacroix), The Artist's Garden at Saint-Clair, 1904-5.

Watercolour. 26.6 x 35.8cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Among the high-end tourists that flocked to the South of France in the first half of the 20th century, were some of modern art’s greatest painters, sculptors, designers and architects. This course will look at the French Riviera’s role as a breeding ground for European modern art.

The South of France provided rebirth and renewal for a number of artists escaping Paris after both the First World War and the Second World War. The physical dislocation, the light of the Mediterranean and the glamorous bonhomie all provided an escape from wartime angst and the destruction seen across Northern Europe. The artists who flocked here saw themselves in the great French tradition, as the purveyors of classical utopias, and the French Riviera as a new Arcadia. Soon the South of France usurped the North as a centre for artistic expression and artistic communities. Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Chagall, Cocteau, Léger and Bonnard are just a few of the great masters who found inspiration along the French Riviera.

Over the course of the weekend, participants will learn about the many modern artists who lived and worked along the French coast in the first half of the twentieth century. We will explore how the landscapes and the Mediterranean shaped modernism. As well as the art produced, the course will look at the personalities and characters that contributed to the South of France’s artistic reputation as well as the temples to modern art that sprung up along the coast.

About the course leader: Dr Nicholas Watkins is a leading authority on French modernism. He has written numerous major monographs and exhibition catalogues on artists including Bonnard and Matisse.

Minimum age 18. If you have any accessibility needs, please contact academicprogrammes@royalacademy.org.uk.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 14 March 2020, 10am — 5pm
  • 15 March 2020, 10am — 5pm

Wolfson British Academy Room, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£420. Includes all materials, light refreshments and a wine reception at the end of day one.

Book now