Museum of Fine Art Nice French Riviera Fine Arts

At times, museums themselves are pieces of art aesthetically surpassing what is inside. In the case of the Musee des Beaux Arts or Museum of Fine Arts in Nice, this is not so, but we would still recommend you come to see the building even if you do not have the time to wander inside. The term fine refers to the beautiful in art as opposed to the useful in it. Keep this in mind as you walk around. The museum's centrepiece is the works by Dufy. The museum's collections vary from early XVth Century triptychs to XXth Century paintings. There is arguably something for everyone.

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Known as the Museum des Beaux Arts - Jules Cheret, the building itself is an old Italian-style residence villa built in 1878 by the Ukrainian princess Kojchoubey that the city of Nice bought many decades later. France received a lot of Russian and Ukrainian immigration in the XIXth Century. The collections are divided on two floors, but the main pieces are on the second. The ground floor contains Asian and Medieval art, and as you walk up the stairs, you will notice paintings along its sides in chronological order leading you up to the main pieces. The museum was officially inaugurated in 1928.

The initial purpose of the museum was to accommodate pieces that Napoleon III had sent from the Louvre, because either the Louvre was too full or those pieces did not fit in with what it represented. Thankfully for you and I, things did not stop there. Purchases, donations and bequests soon flowed in and filled up the rooms. Any fan of Second French Empire and Belle Epoque art should come here, as Bastien-Lepage, Bashkeirkeff, and Carpeaux are just some of the French masters present. The last of which is renowned for his sculptures of women, but possibly outdone by Rodin's Le Baiser.

From the worlds of impressionism and post-impressionism come Boudin, Degas, Monet, Vuillard and Van Dongen. There is some Flemish sculpture and paintings by Brueghel, and Bloemaert. One of the more historically interesting groups is the Van Loo painters dynasty, because one of its scions, Carle Van Loo, was born in Nice in 1705 and was King Louis XV's premier painter.

Dufy died in 1953 and was known for the lively bright colours and lively style. He was one of the leading members of Fauvism led by Henri Matisse who were known for their intense colour and vigorous style up to 1907. Jules Cheret died in 1932 in Nice. He was famous for his posters and lithography, and you will see some of his best ones having begun producing them in 1866. Also look for the pieces by Mossa and Kees, of which the latter's Tango is the most famous one on display.

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