Friday, November 16, 2012

Modern Art Blooms In This French Garden

High on a hilltop in the South of France 
is the rustic stone village of St.-Paul-de-Vence.

Surprisingly charming,

for a town made of rough stone.

Surrounding hillsides are covered with green trees and red tiled roofs.
But container gardening is the only option for plants at the doors and windows of apartments and shops.

I came here while on a trip to Nice and on the advice of my French teacher who recommended an art museum in St.-Paul-de-Vence, with "a lovely garden" and great views. My endorphins lit up at the mention of a lovely garden in France so I quickly jotted down the name: "Fondation Maeght." A couple of months later, just outside the stone walls of the town's center and a bus stop away, my husband and I arrived.

This private foundation sits on a small hill with lots of pine trees and requires a little hike uphill to the entrance, but I was getting used to that in Southern France. And I was willing to drag myself up because we would be rewarded with art and a garden, ahem...just not the kind of garden I was expecting, as it turns out.

Alessandro Mendini, 2010-2011
I admit that momentarily I was disappointed. After all, it didn't meet my expectations of  a "lovely garden." Like the museum, this French garden cultivates modern day sculpture and art--not beds of lavender, sunflowers or les herbes de Provence.

Against beautiful garden bones of green trees, a few small shrubs, grass and those sexy, rock hard walls, modern art is the only thing blooming here, both inside and outside of the museum.

Raoul Ubac, Le Mur, 1958
Of course I am used to sculpture in gardens--albeit of the classical, white stone,
Greek-god-and-goddess types.

Joan Miró, 1970
Not the extra-terrestrial, Joan Miró types.  And yet modern sculpture was planted tastefully and artistically throughout the garden.  I found myself adjusting my notion of a lovely garden.

Joan Miró, 1972
The museum features Chagall, Miró, Leger and Giacometti, among others.
I understand the art can be rotated through depending on exhibits being featured at the museum.

Like any great garden there are water features here, 

some of them featuring pieces of art.

Some of them are pieces of art.
This metal 'Fountain' by Pol Bury has vessels of water that gently move up and down. It is one of my favorites in the garden.

This sculpture has a modern twist on an age-old garden tool, the pitchfork. I love the silhouette of this tall piece against the mountain range and the sky.

Fernand Leger, 1953
By the end of my visit through the museum and garden, I agreed that this is a lovely garden. If art inspires us to think outside of the (stone) box, then I am happy to say that is exactly what happened to me at Fondation Maeght.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright by Jeannine 2012.  All rights reserved.


  1. The garden of the museum, lovely! With so many gorgeous contemporary sculptures on beautiful surroundings!

  2. Hi Jeannine, I love your photos of St.-Paul-de-Vence! What a pretty french village with incredible beautiful surroundings. The "Fondation Maeght"-sculpture garden is special because the art is contrasting in a very interesting way with the old beautiful stone walls, the pine trees and shrubs. Here I feel nature and natural materials are enhancing modern art in a very unique way!

  3. Hello Jeannine, I love the garden tool sculpture. Awesome! P. x

  4. That's not my idea of a French garden either, but it does make one smile. It looks like a fun place, with colorful sculpture contrasting with the gorgeous stone walls and greenery.


Thanks for visiting and please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!