Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, the artist working wonders on the edge of the Mediterranean
August 14, 2018
The Cap Ferrat-based artist is working on a new show responding to the work of the polymath Jean Cocteau
The Mediterranean coast of France has a long and storied history of playing host to artists. Cézanne painted at L’Estaque, and later Picasso and Braque were captivated by the area’s rugged landscape and classical heritage. Andre Dérain and the Fauves found inspiration for their vivid canvases in the shimmering heat of the Mediterranean at Collioure, as did Matisse at Nice. Marc Chagall called Saint-Paul-de-Vence home for 30 years.
The French artist, poet, filmmaker and all-round polymath Jean Cocteau became a part of this tradition in 1950, when he visited a friend, Francine Weisweiller, at the villa Santo Sospir in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. He intended on a two-week stay, yet 12 years later, he was still returning to the villa, to bedeck it with mosaics, frescos and a tapestry. Everything from floor to ceiling was adorned with his works, and the villa Santo Sospir became known as La villa tatouée.