In 1955, a young American graduate camped out in front of Pablo Picasso’s house in Cannes, hoping to meet the artist. Over 50 years later, he came across the photos and diary that he kept of what became a defining moment in the life of photographer Frederick Baldwin.
Baldwin went on to become a highly-respected photographer in his own right, working for Audobon, Life and the Smithsonian Institute. Of his three days in Cannes, he writes, “I had long ago decided that losing the Picasso images was not important because nothing could compare with the memory of the event… It provided me with powerful stimuli to my life and career. It affected the course I would take for the rest of my life.”
The photos and story are now available as a charming free e-book from ZoneZero. I recommend taking the ten minutes to glimpse inside a side of Cannes and France that has since disappeared.
Picasso in Cannes
Several other books have chronicled the work and life of Picasso in Cannes. He knew the area well before settling at the Grimaldi castle in Vallauris that is now the Picasso Museum. Yet Baldwin met Picasso at the 1920’s villa known as La Californie, which he bought in 1955. He lived there with Jacqueline Roque until 1961 when a new construction spoiled their sea views.
His grand-daughter Marina Picasso later inherited it and ran it as a gallery for some time, but later sold the villa and its “rather painful story”. As a child, she has memories of a “rather indifferent grandfather”.
Picasso later moved to another charming location in nearby Mougins. The villa (now known as Pavillon de Flore) is located at 22 Coste Belle Avenue and is currently in private hands.
UPDATE: The Malmaison art centre in Cannes ran a special Picasso event between July 1 and September 30, 2012. “Les chemins du sud /Paths through the south” charted Picasso’s travels and works from when he moved to Vallauris in 1942. It includes 10 major works by Picasso, as well as his photomontages with André Villers.
A series of photos have been enlarged and were posted around Vallauris and Cannes over the summer.
Centre d’art La Malmaison
47 boulevard de la Croisette
Tél :+33 (0)4 97 06 44 90
Fax :+33 (0)4 97 06 45 31