One of the toughest decisions when traveling is how much time to spend relaxing and how much time to spend sightseeing. Cramming in too many activities can leave you without a real appreciation of the destination, but seeing too little can leave you unsatisfied. As someone who typically errs on the side of doing too much, I was thrilled that Terre Blanche Hotel in Provence brings the museum to the guests! Thanks to their world class art collection, I could spend plenty of time at the luxurious pool and still experience incredible contemporary art – magnifique!
Perhaps my favorite piece was by Jaume Plensa (see above). He has a giant version of this sculpture in Port Vauban Antibes, where we had just come from, so we were especially excited to see a smaller version of Nomade in front of the Terre Blanche Proshop. A very special experience to examine this man made of letters up close!
Provence is known for being a colorful place, but Jim Dine’s Pop Art sculpture on the Private Lawn near the pool takes that even further. This multicolor statue manages to stand out while perfectly working within its surroundings.
A statue in Jean Dubuffet’s signature black-and-white style greets visitors at reception. One of France’s top modern artists of the 20th century, his work is at major museums around the world including the MoMA in NYC and the Louisiana in Denmark.
The Terre Blanche collection boasts three sculptures by Pierre Arman, who was born and studied art in nearby Nice. Although I didn’t know the artist’s name, I immediately recognized his violin sculpture in the lobby because I had seen a similar piece at the Picasso Museum in Antibes.
There are four striking sculptures by British artist Tony Cragg. He worked as a lab tech at the Natural Rubber Producers Research Association before he attended art school, and you feel his scientific understanding of the materials when you look at his sculptures. They feel very organic and like you can feel the motion, although of course they are completely still.
Even going to Terre Blanche’s gorgeous pool is an artistic experience, as you gaze upon Mario Ceroli’s sculpture of what looks like a woman diving into the water. This Italian sculptor won the sculpture prize at the 1966 Venice Biennale.
Every time I passed by Bernar Venet’s “Lignes Indeterminees,” I thought of Shakespeare’s famous phrase “shuffled off this mortal coil” from Hamlet’s soliloquy. What does it make you think of?
By the way, Terre Blanche also has an extensive painting collection, including colorful work by Mimmo Paladino, William Quinn and Casar Radetzky, Herbet Brandl, Stefan Wehmeier. But I was most taken by the sculptures, especially how they worked with the Provence landscape.
Comped but Never Compromised: I received a complimentary stay at Terre Blanche but I am free to write whatever I want.