Provence & The Côte d'AzurThe image of the French Riviera
is of the azure sun-lit Mediterranean sea, serene town squares with cafes shaded by plane trees and, in front, groups of locals playing the ancient French game of boules on a packed-clay pitch. The names that Provence-Côte d'Azur conjures up, Grasse, Cannes, Vallauris, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Saint Paul de Vence (with its renowned Fondation Maeght), are also the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century painting. Beginning with Jean-Honoré Fragonard, the eighteenth-century Rococo painter living in Grasse, a succession of artists followed who were to create our image of modern art in general. Paul Cézanne settled in Aix-en Provence, Vincent van Gogh in Arles, Renoir in his villa at Cagnes, just behind the town that housed Pierre Bonnard, Cannes. The ancient Phoenician city of Nice, with its colourful flower and vegetable market that was the home of Henri Matisse in his villa nearby in the Episcopal suburb of Cimiez and Pablo Picasso was in Vallauris.
Matthew Moss' paintings describe some of these locations, from Menton close to the Italian Riviera to the Camargue and the Petit Rhone, near Marseilles.