hanging out at my neighbor’s house & channeling renoir
I decided to hang out at my neighbor’s (Renoir) house for a couple of hours. I have passed the time at chez Picasso, but for some reason had not ventured over to chez Renoir. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the painter, was living nearby until he died in December, 1919.
All right, so maybe the Renoir estate is not my most immediate neighbor. His home, which is now a museum, is above the city of Cagnes-sur-mer, three train stops from Antibes and a few stops from Nice.
On a nice day, when one can walk the grounds, the Musée Renoir is worth a visit. It is open during irregular hours. One should check those times and days before venturing there.
I took the train to Cagnes-sur-mer, and from the train station I walked to the Musée Renoir. The walk is flat, until one reaches the road that ascends to the museum. That climb does not last long and is easy to walk. However, the road is narrow and the shoulders do not offer much room for pedestrians.
The cost for admission is minimal, 6 euros. I spent an hour-and-a-half touring the small museum in the lower level, the house itself, and the grounds, and found the time sufficient and well spent.
To the left of the path and before arriving at the house itself, one sees a placard with a painting on it, Paysage des Collettes. Renoir painted the scene from that spot where the placard is posted. Vegetation has grown and covered most of the view. I took a photograph of that scene. One can easily note, however, the two large trees that still exist. Haut-de-Cagnes in the distance can be seen as well. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
The visit to the Musée Renoir has three parts: the art work, including a small museum on the ground level, which has several sculptures Renoir did in collaboration with Richard Guino; the house and its many many rooms; and thirdly, the wonderful grounds, including the farm building and the lavoir. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
The museum does not have any major pieces for obvious reasons. It does have Les grandes Baigneuses, which Renoir did between 1903-1905. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
Another room, which is fun to see, is where Renoir painted. It includes an easel that he may or may not have used. A wheel chair that he used is also present. At the top of the stairs that descend into the room is a painting Renoir et son modèle by Albert André. It shows Renoir at work. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
On the ground floor is a small museum with sculptures that Renoir did while collaborating with Richard Guino and Louis Morel. A number of pieces are of Renoir himself by various other artists, Aristide Maillol, Paul Paulin, Marcel Gimond, to name three, for example. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
The grounds are large and wonderful. The morning light is superb among the trees. Old knotted trees abound. Inclement weather would make venturing around the grounds unpleasant. I recommend highly a clear day. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
From the porch and the entrance to the house itself, one can have a grand panoramic view of the surrounding area, including Haut-de-Cagnes, one of my favorite villages perchés.