The lush French Riviera estate of the late great Pablo Picasso is set to hit the auction block next month, with a starting bid of €20.2 million (US$24 million).
Picasso, perhaps the greatest artist of the 20th century, lived and worked in the home, which is known as Mas de Notre Dame de Vie, from 1961 until his death at the age of 91 in 1973, according to the listing agent.
The traditional and very private Provencal bastide, or country house, is nestled amid southern France’s stunning coastline. It sits just below the old chapel of Notre-Dame de Vie in Mougins.
The hillside setting is somewhat remote, which is exactly what the artist wanted at that stage of his life and career. He would apparently work until late in the evening or at night, and sleep during the day, in order to fully dedicate himself to his work without distraction.
The estate has spectacular views of Mougins, the Esterel Massif, the bay of Cannes, and the Mediterranean Sea.
For decades, the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, has been a favorite playground for royalty, the international upper class, jet-setters and world stars, and artists and bohemians. The Mediterranean climate is perfect, the scenery is enchanting, and the historic villages and towns offer loads of charm and delicious food.
Residence 365, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, is handling the Oct. 12 auction of the Picasso home. Viewing days will be held on Sept. 22 and Sept. 29. Listing agents for the property did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In January, Rayo Withanage, chairman of Scepter Partners, purchased the property from Tom Moeskops, a Dutch real-estate investor, and BMB, an investment firm formed by the Brunei royal family, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Scepter is a syndicate of wealthy families and state investment funds from the Middle East. The firm was spun off from BMB in 2015. Mr. Withanage was one of the founders of BMB and became chief executive of Scepter at its launch.
Mr. Moeskops bought the property from Picasso’s family, Mr. Withanage told The Wall Street Journal, and sold a minority stake to BMB about five years ago.
Mr. Withanage declined to say how much he paid for the estate, though he told The Wall Street Journal the figure was less than its listed price of more than $200 million.
The entire property is well maintained, according to the current listing, and comes with all of the expected modern conveniences, including state of the art home automation, security and air conditioning.
Mr. Moeskops completed a painstaking two-year renovation of the 1,225 square-foot mansion but is said to have remained faithful to the home’s features when Picasso owned it.
The bastide is surrounded by eight acres of landscaped grounds, with a professional tennis court, an infinity pool, and a 350-square-meter pool house outfitted with a professional summer kitchen, spacious gym/fitness center, spa, steam bath, massage and changing rooms, showers and laundry facilities.
The luscious gardens were completely restored to Picasso’s original design from the early 1960s, with handsome water features, ancient olive trees, an authentic restored orangery, stone steps, a tree hut, and outdoor terraces.
The extensive property also includes a comfortable 250-square-meter guesthouse and a 120-square-meter caretaker’s house.
The property was pretty much a ruin when Mr. Moeskops bought it. It had stood empty for 30 years, since the death of Picasso’s wife, Jacqueline Roque, in 1986.
After Picasso’s death, she had left everything in the house as it was, not changing a thing, according to the listing. Even his reading glasses were where Picasso had left them.
The renowned Belgian architect Axel Vervoordt oversaw the substantial restoration of the property.
The estate has access from two sides, via camera secured gates. The entrance on the ground floor leads to a spacious hall and a large yet comfortable lounge, a breakfast room, studio and gallery.
At the lower garden level, there is a second living room with a fireplace that adjoins a spectacular garden room with arched doors leading onto the terrace. On this level there is also a professional kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, a prep kitchen, two cold storage areas, and a climatized wine cellar for 5,000 bottles.
The master bedroom on the first floor is of royal proportions, according to the listing, with wide views of the surrounding area, a spacious dressing room and luxurious bathroom.
There are four more large bedrooms, each with en-suite dressing rooms and bathrooms, as well as five separate guest apartments in the grounds, three with their own living room. In total there are 15 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms on the estate.
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