image for Lecture item typeRiviera Paradise Lecture at The Fleet

Lecture, Thu 9 Nov 2017, free entry


Fleet Way,
Old Fletton,

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Riviera Paradise: The Fusion of Art, Design and Pleasure on the Cote d’Azur in the 1920s and 1930s

This lecture, by Mary Alexander, features the South of France.
Since the 19th century, English high society had regularly 'wintered over' on the Côte d'Azur, promenading by the sea and leaving by April. In the early 1920s, however, an intoxicating mix of artists, writers, musicians and international visitors, inspired by a mythological seascape of luminous colours, created a new summer season. Sun tans and sportswear soon became 'de rigueur' in the chic new coastal resorts, villas and hotels. In the words of Matisse, writing in 1918 ... "It seems like a paradise which one does not have the right to analyse".

In this experimental Riviera playground of ideas, a vibrant synergy pulsated across the visual design arts. Traditional boundaries were torn down. Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Cocteau, and Chanel merged the worlds of fashion, theatre and interiors. The impresarios Serge Diaghilev and Paul Poiret generated an exciting fusion in the creative arts.

Cole Porter, Scott Fitzgerald, and the intriguing Gerald and Sara Murphy, who become lifestyle icons, introduced an American perspective and attracted an influential new set of discerning patrons and collectors.

We will 'time travel' with Mary, recreating the romance of rail travel on the iconic Train Bleu or motor in a dashing Hispano Suiza. We will meet the personalities, call in on Matisse's studio in Nice, share a morning cocktail with the Murphy's on their secluded beach, marvel at Dufy's magical murals at Antibes, check out the latest fashionable interior designs at the Palais de la Mediterranée, buy a pair of Perugia shoes, take a spin up to Monte Carlo to play the tables, and attend an opening night featuring Cocteau's designs for the latest Ballets Russes production.

10.45am – Noon (coffee from 10.15am)

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 9 Nov 2017 10:45 to 12:00


Free entry

Donations Welcome.


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