In my very limited experience there aren’t too many art galleries that allow visitors to take pictures of the exhibits. Thus exploring the Musee National Marc Chagall in Nice was particularly exciting. I’ve always loved his paintings – I love the colours, the textures, the ethereal and whimsical nature of his art. And to be able to photograph added so much more to the whole experience.
The gallery in Nice exposes us also to other mediums he worked in – stained glass and sculpture. Set on a hillside above Nice, a short bus ride from the centre and one stop short of the famous Roland Garros tennis arena, it is surrounded by trees and quite unassuming from the outside. It was purpose built, designed by Chagall himself specifically to house his collection.
All the rooms in this light, airy and minimalist space have generous proportions and interesting shapes – no one room is the same. In one room two unadorned walls have a slit window for you to gaze through at an enclosed courtyard with sculptured walls – Chagall’s work of course.
Each painting has its own wall – the paintings have room to breathe, they spring to life.
There is also an 200-seat auditorium with an exterior wall in stained glass – predominantly azure blue. A 20-minute film giving further insight into Chagall’s life plays onto a huge screen. Music underlies the narration. Serenity pervades – perfect.
We left, feeling an amazing sense of calm. I think somehow that by design, that was the intention.
And now – to stand back and see it all.