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Monaco Masters Show: La Côte d’Azur, Terre d’Inspiration July 3 – August 31, 2024

Monaco, May 2024 – Opera Gallery is pleased to present “The Monaco Masters Show: La Côte d’Azur, Terre d’Inspiration,” a group exhibition featuring Karel Appel, Fernando Botero, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, George Condo, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hartung, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Jean-Paul Riopelle. This exhibition showcases a diverse range of 20th and 21st-century artists who have spent time living and working on the French Riviera. The artworks on display, with their variety of artistic styles, media, and subjects, testify to the region’s ability to evoke emotion and imagination, stimulating creativity in numerous forms.

Throughout history, the culture, climate, and unique clarity of light found on the Côte d’Azur have served as a creative motivation for artists from Joan Miró to George Condo. For many, the region has been a place of pilgrimage, offering a chance to escape the trappings of metropolitan life. The Mediterranean Sea continues to beckon artists seeking refuge and renewal, and they inevitably return transformed by the region’s unique energy.

In many of these artists’ work, the region’s influence is not immediately apparent. Their impressions and memories of the Riviera may form only a brief moment, woven into the tapestry of life experiences to be drawn upon in the studio. In 1946, Pablo Picasso left occupied Paris for Antibes, where he spent three months working tirelessly in the Grimaldi Château. Three years later, Marc Chagall bought a home in nearby Vence, a stone’s throw from the famous chapel adorned with Henri Matisse’s work. Here, he crossed paths with many artists including Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder, and Joan Miró, all of whom would become early exhibitors at the Fondation Maeght, which opened in the town in 1964.

Nearby in Nice, during the mid-1950s, Niki de Saint Phalle set up her own studio. In 2001, towards the end of her life, she returned to the town to donate 170 of her works to the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, where a room is still dedicated to her today.

Each artist’s autobiography contains a similar anecdote — a moment or period of reflection set against the landscape of the French Riviera. It is not so much a character in the exhibition as it is a lens through which it can be viewed. In manifold forms, sometimes abundantly clear and sometimes more oblique, its echoes reverberate through the lives and work of each artist.

Beyond the 20th-century artists most closely associated with the region, a section of the exhibition spotlights several contemporary artists who have similarly been energized by the Riviera. In dialogue with the other artists on show, they create a link between the past and present of the fabled coastline.

Opera Gallery

Founded in Singapore in 1994, Opera Gallery has forged a network of 16 galleries worldwide over its 30 years, including locations in London, Paris, New York, Geneva, Hong Kong, and Seoul, establishing itself as one of the leading global players in the international art market.

Headed by Gilles Dyan, Opera Gallery specializes in post-war French art, Modern and Contemporary European, American, and Asian art. Additionally, the gallery represents international emerging artists such as Andy Denzler, Anthony James, as well as more established contemporary artists like Ron Arad, Manolo Valdés, and Anselm Reyle. Opera Gallery’s mission is to showcase the dynamic, innovative, and diverse expressions of modern and contemporary art through its ambitious yearly exhibition programming and to bring together institutions that shape the cultural landscape, often supporting private collections and leading public institutions.

Leading a new chapter for Opera Group, Isabelle de La Bruyère joined as CEO in 2023. Known for her extensive network, de La Bruyère plays a key role in the global art scene and is respected for her deep knowledge of the art world, which informs her focus on curator-led programming. Prior to joining Opera, de La Bruyère worked at Christie’s for 26 years, where her departing role was Senior Director of the Chairman’s Office and Head of Client Advisory for the EMEA region at Christie’s.

Opera Gallery Monaco is led by Damien Simonelli.

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