Dear Jean-Claude Guibal, Member of Parliament and President of the General Council of the Alpes Maritimes,Dear Eric Ciotti,Elected Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Jean-Michel Drevet,Dear Richard Tomlin, Director of the Séverin Wunderman Family Museum,Dear Tony Clark,Dear Rudy Ricciotti,Dear Denis Louche, Regional Director of Cultural Affairs,Dear Friends,

The Mediterranean is not just a show. It is likely
that its salt and iodine contain something else very mysterious,
since all the coasts it bathes form a kind of homeland and that
the peoples who inhabit this homeland make up a family." This was the
Mediterranean according to Jean Cocteau, populated by angels, apostles walking
on the waters, in imaginary Knossos palaces where the
fishermen, fougasses, lovers with Cycladic eyes to souls
“a nocturnal amalgam of caves, forests, swamps,
red rivers (…) populated by gigantic and fabulous animals
which devour each other», taken from such a personal mythology, to
Greek and African influences, deployed under a sky he said fit
to fantasies».
In Milly-la-Forêt, in the sandstone chapel he had decorated and where he is now
buried, the epitaph of the Orpheus of our 20th century tells us: I remain
with you”. At the Royal Palace, he is always. In Menton too. Today,
we celebrate the encounter between the trace of a dream, the generosity of a
man and the vision of an architect.
In Paris, Jean Cocteau was the initiator and protector of all the advances
aesthetic, the versatile artist, the poet, the playwright, the
And then there was the Mediterranean,
long-time refuge for her tormented loves, since the death of
Raymond Radiguet. On the coast, the middle-aged lizard
ceramicist, goldsmith, he painted frescoes. At his friends, he dreams of being an aristocratic craftsman,
it projects on the walls, on the vases and dishes, its
fantasies of a elsewhere founder where reigns the idea of Greece and lanterns
magic - in Santo-Sospir at the Weisweiller, in Villefranche, in Fréjus,
in Cap d'Ail, in Menton where his frescoes earned him a 17th century fortin
century, on which he quickly projected the idea of a museum to exhibit the
works that he will have conceived facing this sea both lived and dreamed.
Menton already had its museum of fine arts, installed in the beautiful Palace
Carnolès, its Palace of Europe where the Biennale of
Menton, and its Cocteau Museum in the Bastion of the Port, Museum of
France» since 2003; today it is transformed into a larger museum, at the
height of one of the greatest creators of the twentieth century, coming
now fit into this archipelago so rich for modern art that we
offers the Coast and its hinterland: Picasso in Vallauris and Antibes, Matisse
in Nice and Vence, Chagall in Nice and the Maeght Foundation, Léger in Biot,
Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer and again in Nice, to speak only of its
contemporaries.
Inaugurating the new Cocteau museum in Menton also means making
tribute to the generosity of a man: Severin Wunderman. An apprentice
who spends all of his first salary on a drawing of
Cocteau dedicated to the Terrible Children; much later, became a
a remarkable entrepreneur, he opened in California the museum of Irvine, dedicated
to Cocteau. It is also the story of a meeting between you, Mr. Le
and this exceptional collector, who unfortunately will not have
had the opportunity to attend the laying of the first stone, a little
less than three years, of this box intended to receive a donation
exceptional: comprising nearly 2000 works of which more than half
of the artist, it is the world’s largest public collection of works
of Cocteau, offering a very complete vision of all his periods,
from the first self-portraits of the 1910s to its period
Mediterranean, often less well known to the general public, since the
works related to his first «sacred monster», Sarah Bernhardt, until
those of his friends and accomplices: Picasso, Modigliani, Foujita, Di Chirico.
A collection remarkably put in space by Célia Bernasconi,
who decided to propose a course in the form of a stroll, according to
the artist’s encounters with the most striking figures of his
personal mythology, and which continues to the Bastion, which he had conceived
50 years ago, up to the town hall and its hall
of weddings.
Opening this space dedicated to the Severin Wunderman collection is
also celebrate the meeting between this magnificent project and an architect
for which I feel the greatest admiration, since our first
meeting on the site of the MuCEM in Marseille: Rudy Ricciotti. Once
the architect of Bandol and his agency have put their talents to the
world renowned for the architectural heritage of the
after the Centre chorégraphique national d'Aix-en-Provence, the
restructurings at the Caumont Hotel in Avignon which houses the collection
Lambert, or the abbey of Montmajour, among many other achievements.
White concrete and smoked glass for a very daring concept
find, omnipresent, the «loose trait» of the master: I am sure, dear Rudy,
that Jean Cocteau would have been impressed by the tribute he is receiving today
And I am particularly proud that my department has partnered with
the city of Menton, alongside the General Council of the Maritime Alps and
of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-D'azur region, for the realization of this project
which gives life to all the wills of the one who made
disobedience a priesthood, and who knew like no other to jump
the mysterious wall on which men write their loves and
dreams».