Château de La Napoule in Mandelieu

American artist, Henry Clews, and his American wife,  Marie,  re-built the medieval fortress/chateau in the 1920’s, as it had mostly been destroyed during the French Revolution (except for an exterior wall and a portion of one of the wings).  Henry was a painter and sculptor, who abhorred the arrogant bourgeoisie (as depicted in the carved wreath of faces photo) and also  made fun of doctors for their sense of superpower and condescension.  He caricatured American critics, not appreciated by Henry, through his animal-sculpted wooden doors.

Henry had tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, by being a banker on Wall Street, but left to become an artist and follow his passion. He had ties with Rodin in Paris, which helped him connect to the Parisian art world.  Both Henry and Marie had been previously married with children; they felt passionate about each other and about art and had one son together.

What’s amazing is that after Henry’s death, Marie stayed at the château through the years of German occupation, having hidden and buried all of Henry’s art work, humbly welcoming Germans to stay at the château as a cover.  Her strength of character and passion for her husband and his works of art helped save the immense collection that is currently on display – a remarkable love story!

Located West of Cannes, this lovely and historical château is well worth a visit.

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Not exactly “La dame de fer” (the Eiffel Tower)

Although it was the Eiffel Tower (nicknamed the “Iron Lady”) that was referred to as a useless monstrosity and a disgrace, when it was first built, those terms could equally apply to the iron sculpture unveiled in Nice, to commemorate the 150 year anniversary of Nice belonging to France. In my opinion (and everyone I have asked), this sculpture is considered “ugly and horrible,” — but then, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder!

No disrespect intended to Monsieur Bernar Venat, whose other locally-placed works of art are, personally speaking, more asthetically appealing.

The artist’s work appears in a number of cities: Paris (“double ligne indéterminée” à la Défense), Berlin, Cologne, Genève, Strasbourg, New York, Austin, San Francisco and Tokyo.

The “9 lignes obliques” sculpture, representing the 9 valleys in and around Nice, took two months to complete and, with a market value of 2,000,000€, it was donated to Nice by the artist (the city paid around 280,000€ for its production and transport). The work of art is 30 meters high, weighs 54 tons, and is built on a 40-ton steel and concrete base, to stabilize the sculpture against the local, and sometimes strong, winds.

I think the “Nine oblique lines” sculpture looks better at night, due to lighting softening the harshness of the metal, but honestly, I prefer the “Iron Lady”!