surreal

January 22, 2019

Gosh! Have you heard of Villa Santo Sospir? Until today, I hadn’t. What a jewel of a home! It’s situated at the very tip of Cap Ferrat, between Nice and Monaco, and was the holiday home of Alec and Francine Weisweiller. Picasso, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo were all guests. In 1950, Jean Cocteau came to visit, and covered every wall in his signature surrealist sketches. “When I stayed at Santo Sospir in the summer of 1950, I hastily decorated a wall,” said Cocteau. “Matisse told me that if you decorate one wall you should do the others as well. He was right. Picasso opened and closed all the doors. All that was left to do was to paint the doors. But the doors lead into rooms. The rooms have walls. And if the doors are painted, the walls have an empty look. I spent the entire summer of 1950 working on ladders. An old Italian worker prepared my pigments, immersed in fresh milk. A young woman lives at Santo Sospir. I didn’t need to dress the walls. I had to draw on their surface. That’s why I made line frescoes, with a few colours that echoed tattoo art. Santo Sospir is the tattooed villa.” Today, the villa is owned by a Russian real estate developer, and private tours are offered for the right price. Have a gander around online, the house feels like a love letter to bohemia.

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