In Mougins, Picasso’s traditional farmhouse goes to auction
If you have ever wanted to live like an artist, you now have the opportunity as the former home and studio of Picasso is currently for sale. News has revealed that the farmhouse in known as Notre-Dame-de-Vie, where Pablo Picasso died in 1973, could be auctioned off. The owner, a Dutch real estate tycoon, is facing financial difficulties.
Information has spread like wildfire. Information, but also errors and rumours. What is true is that the Mas, or traditional Provencal farmhouse, Notre-Dame-de-Vie, in Mougins could find a new owner at the Grasse court. Provided that the highest bidder agrees to invest at least 15 million euros, since this is the starting price of a sale originally scheduled for the 2nd of February. It has been postponed to an unspecified date. As for the rest, pretty much everything you may have heard is wrong. The seller is not a Belgian art dealer, as one may read everywhere, but a Dutch real estate tycoon. The person in question is facing both pending divorce and at odds with the banks.
800 m2 of habitable space
The dwelling consists of about 800 m2 of habitable space, though the whole property actually offers 2,357 m2 of “usable” space. The pool house, on its own, includes a kitchen, a cold storage room, a gym and a spa worthy of the best hotels, though you can’t sleep there. But in the main part of the house there are five rooms, one of which is about 100 m2. This one opens onto a superb panorama, via a framework of metal and glass 4m high, forming a vast bay window. Two large lounges complete the farmhouse. A number of other rooms are available in a recently modernised annex. The park itself, which extends over three hectares, has recently benefitted from a second fence, guaranteeing optimal security despite the right of passage for hikers.
In short, Notre-Dame-de-Vie has changed considerably. From the era Picasso, one recognizes the workshop, still stained with paint, and a kind of gallery. None of his works, however, even if one may be tempted to attribute to Picasso a mask carved in a stone pillar. The farmhouse has been officially on sale for more than two years. The businessman had bought it in 2008 for a sum that is estimated to be between 10 and 12 million euros. He would have invested at least as much again in the renovation work. But he hopes to get close to 170 million euros. For “La Californie”, which Picasso had left in 1961 for Notre-Dame-de-Vie, his granddaughter Marina told us in 2015 that he had refused an offer of 150 million euros.
“It’s not easy to leave this house. On the other hand, it is reasonable to do so,” she said. Since then, Marina Picasso has changed her mind, too attached to this Cannes villa that she had already completely restored and whose roof she has just had remodelled.
For whom? At what price?
According to Michaël Zingraf, the farm had been estimated at between 20 and 25 million euros. This group of real estate agencies offers 2,700 luxurious or exceptional properties, between the range of 1 and 350 million euros. At the top of the list: the “Palais Bulles” of Antti Lovag in Théoule-sur-Mer, property of Pierre Cardin. There have been a few visits, but no deal yet. One thing is for certain, though: the clientele does exist.
“For exceptional properties, large amounts are discussed,”according to a specialist.
At this price level, “an exceptional view” and “incredible architecture” are required. These are two qualities that come together at the “Palais Bulles”. This coveted estate will be for a wealthy individual, otherwise for a foundation or a museum. This may also be the case for Notre-Dame-de-Vie. Even if, in the opinion of the same expert, Picasso’s name does not justify a multi-million euro surcharge. The election of Donald Trump has not yet translated into a massive exile of American citizens, which is too bad for Johnny Depp’s hamlet, posted for sale in the Var for 50 million. With his laundromat and his bistro for friends, he guarantees the stars an “escape to the French way of life”, away from the world and the paparazzi.
Twelve years of Life and Creation
The famous artist lived in Notre-Dame-de-Vie with Jacqueline Roque, his last companion and second wife, from 1961. He had just given up “La Californie”, his Villa in Cannes whose view of the bay was spoiled by the construction of a building below it. The artist died in Mougins on the 8th of April, 1973, after succumbing to a pulmonary embolism. In 1986, his widow committed suicide. The couple was buried in the park of the castle of Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence.
The beautiful history of this property makes it priceless. So now you know that the final home and studio of Picasso are for sale, you can perhaps dream of what life would be like in this farmhouse where great artwork was made.