People are genereally aware that Pablo Picasso loved Provence mostly because of its sun but also in part due to the intermingling of French and Spanish culture all along the Cote D’Azur. He stayed for a period of time at “Les Clochettes” in the town of Sorgues (just to the northeast of Avignon). He arrived in June of 1912 with his lover, Eva Gouel (who tragically died in 1915). When he was not painting guitars he spent time with Geroges Braque studying collage techniques. He frequently visited Avignon.

But not far from Aux Secrets du Puits is the town of Menerbes which has the strongest Picasso connection. His second paramour, Dora Maar, a photographer and painter in her own rite, lived in Menerbes from 1944 until her death in Paris in 1997. Apparently a wealthy man who was art lover and also what we might call now a Picasso “groupie” offered Picasso a handsome townhouse in Menerbes overlooking the valley of the Luberon (later made famous by Peter Mayle’s two books).

The townhouse was given to Picasso in exchange for one of his still life paintings. Picasso gave the townhouse to Dora Maar and they spent time together there until the end of their relationship in 1946. After her death the townhouse was purchased by a Texan living in Menerbes (and Houston). It is now the home of the Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House. Young artists can obtain free accommodations here for several months time.

One can vist all these places if you have the privilege of staying at Aux Secrets du Puits.

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