February 08, 2019
Located on the French riviera at the tip of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is the magnificent Santo Sospir villa. Constructed from 1931 - 1935 in the regional Mediterranean style the villa was used by Alec and Francine Weiseiller as a holiday retreat. From 1950 Jean Cocteau was a frequent guest for almost a decade and started painting the walls resulting in the extraordinary monumental artwork.
“When I stayed at Santo Sospir in the summer of 1950, I hastily decorated a wall. Matisse told me that if you decorate one wall you should do the others as well. He was right. Picasso opened and closed all the doors. All that was left to do was to paint the doors. But the doors lead into rooms. The rooms have walls. And if the doors are painted, the walls have an empty look. I spent the entire summer of 1950 working on ladders. An old Italian worker prepared my pigments, immersed in fresh milk. A young woman lives at Santo Sospir. I didn’t need to dress the walls. I had to draw on their surface. That’s why I made line frescoes, with a few colours that echoed tattoo art. Santo Sospir is the tattooed villa.” – For the film La villa Santo Sospir by Jean Cocteau