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The Sitting Couple

Fontvieille Sculptures: Part 2

HelloMonaco continues its series about the history of sculptures in the gardens and parks of Monaco. Sometimes the fanciful creations of architects are hidden from the eyes of curious tourists, and only an experienced observer will be able to recognise them in the shade of green trees. Today we will tell you about sculptures from the Fontvieille garden which is decorated with creations by different famous modern artists from all corners of the globe.

Walking in the shade of the park, you will definitely bump into the sculpture by Lynn Russell Chadwick called “The Sitting Couple”. This English sculptor is known for his works all around the world. He received the highest award at the Venice Biennale in 1956. Then, 8 years later, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him with the The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and later, he also received the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1985.

And it is no surprise that one of his sculptures is exposed in Monaco’s park. Chadwick liked to decorate parks with his creations. The Englishman spent the last years of his life in Stroud, a town in Gloucestershire where he even created the sculpture park called Lypiatt Park.

The sculpture “The Sitting Couple” is not the only “couple” that he created. He gave the Hague (in the Netherlands) a similar work with the same name, but with the couple sculpted in a slightly different position.

 “The Washer Woman”
“The Washer Woman”

Further on, next to a small pond in the park, we notice a woman washing clothes in the water. “The Washer Woman” is the name of the work, indicated on the plaque. It is the copy of a very well-known sculpture which is a result of the fruitful collaboration between Auguste Renoir and his young assistant Richard Guino. The prototype of this sculpture was created in 1917, two years prior to Renoir’s death. It is astonishing that at 76 years old he still continued to work! During the years of this collaboration (Richard Guino was introduced to Renoir in 1913) they created a dozen of sculptures, which is an impressive result and proves how intimate was the mutual understanding between the elder Renoir and the young adventurer Gino.

Until 1918 these masters worked together in the Renoir’s mansion in Cagnes-sur-Mer. There they created about 37 sculptures, many of them were realised based on Renoir’s sketches. Some critics claim that these works emphasise the characteristic style of the artist and show the surprisingly close spiritual connection established between the two artists. One specialist in New York Times said in 1984: “Guino obviously became Renoir – or was obsessed with him”.

Therefore, the copy of this sculpture of “The Washer Woman” which decorates Fontvieille park, remains one of the pearls of the sculptural collection of the Principality.

“Atlantes”
“Atlantes”

Also in this park you will find a piece of art made by a resident of Monaco. In 1989 the sculptor Blake offered to the principality his sculpture called “Atlantes”. Blake was born and grew up in Canada, then moved to Paris. In 1991 he opened his own studio in Monte-Carlo where he continues to work. Generally Blake’s works are realised in bronze and marble.

“Atlantes” is one of the main and most famous works by the artist. Having offered it to Monaco, he in this way showed his respect and love for the country where he achieved considerable success in his profession. Blake is also a member of the International Association of Arts of Monaco.

If you think that this is the whole collection of Fontvieille, then you are very mistaken! Next week we will tell you about other masterpieces which are hidden in the shadows of the park.

Read previous material about the Fontvieille collection.

There are still more sculptures and more history to be revealed in the beautiful parks and gardens of Monaco!



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