Inspiration • October 2017
From the impressionist landscapes of southern France to the LA swimming pools that inspired David Hockney, take a culture trip with one of these artistic adventures, says luxury design and travel writer Emilee Tombs
Everyone from Monet, Matisse and Van Gogh has been inspired by the south of France’s enchanting light. Picasso even decided to live out his final years marvelling at the stunning Mediterranean landscape. Fly to Nice and explore the myriad museums of the region; visit the walled village of St Paul de Vence (pictured) and the Fondation Maeght, where some of the most important works of 20th-century art reside.
Explore three of Spain’s most impressive art museums in Madrid’s ‘art triangle’: Reina Sofia, where Picasso’s heart-wrenching Guernica takes up an entire wall and Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke hangs inside the courtyard of the new wing; Museo del Prado, where old masters from Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Titian and Bosch live side by side; and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, home to one of Europe’s largest private art collections.
New Mexico’s untamed desert and fantastical colours that change every hour were a huge source of inspiration for Georgia O’Keeffe, the American artist known for her boldly coloured, large-scale flowers, along with her studies of animal skulls set against stark and dramatic wide-angle desertscapes. Head to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and O’Keeffe’s studio in Santa Fe for insight into her life and works.
Japan has one of the world’s most diverse historical and contemporary art traditions, and a single trip can cover centuries of art and architecture. Start in the old capital of Kyoto to discover minimalist Buddhist temples and bright Shinto shrines, before moving into the modern day in the south at the incredible Art House Project (pictured) – a collection of installations in the empty houses of Honmura, Naoshima, which show local daily life through art.
Illustrator Rose Blake may just have had the best art tour of them all, when, aged 11, she stepped into her father’s friend’s Lexus for a spin around California. That friend was David Hockney, and as Blake recalls in her playful book, Meet the Artist: David Hockney, the three of them took one of Hockney’s beloved ‘musical tours’ around Los Angeles. Recreate the drive yourself: start in Laurel Canyon, once home to the artist’s brightly coloured house, then amp up the classical music (Wagner, preferably), and head to the famous pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.