The Telegraph sets the stage:
The position of the château literally on Cézanne’s mountain made it like a magical object to Picasso,” says Bruno Ely, curator of the nearby Musée Granet in Aix which is holding a major Picasso-Cézanne retrospective this summer. “Picasso telephoned his dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler to tell him he had just purchased Cézanne’s Sainte-Victoire. ‘Which one?’ Kahnweiler asked, presuming Picasso was talking about a painting. ‘The original!’ replied Picasso.”
The current owner, Catherine Hutin (the daughter of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque from her earlier marriage to engineer André Hutin) has been persuaded to allow exceptional public access to the château for four months this summer to coincide with the Musée Granet exhibition. Small groups arriving in a special shuttle bus from Aix have an hour to visit the cobbled guardroom where Picasso’s body lay in state; five interior rooms; and, at the foot of the château’s main façade, the burial site where Roque (who committed suicide in 1986) lies alongside her famous husband.
The Times takes us inside:
The red-shuttered chateau is where Picasso lived with his second wife from 1959 to 1961 and where he created some of the greatest work of his later years.
Much to the excitement of Picasso fans, the house — abandoned by Jacqueline and Catherine, her daughter, to caretakers after the artist’s death in 1973 — is just as they left it, giving it the uncanny air of a time capsule.
In a sparsely decorated bedroom, a 1950s telephone sits on the bedside table. On the floor is a giant, Swiss cowbell.
“Each morning, Picasso, already in his late 70s when he moved into the chateau, would see if he still had the strength to lift it,” said Pepita Dupont, a friend of Jacqueline and author of The Truth about Jacqueline and Pablo Picasso.
The opening of the house is linked with a Picasso Cezanne exhibition in near- by Aix-en-Provence and an extravaganza of other Picasso-themed exhibits, open- air concerts and festivals throughout southern France this summer.
Painter’s Love Palace Unsealed (Times of London)
Pablo Picasso’s Chateau de Vauvenargues (Telegraph)