Château de La Napoule in Mandelieu

American artist, Henry Clews, and his American wife,  Marie,  re-built the medieval fortress/chateau in the 1920’s, as it had mostly been destroyed during the French Revolution (except for an exterior wall and a portion of one of the wings).  Henry was a painter and sculptor, who abhorred the arrogant bourgeoisie (as depicted in the carved wreath of faces photo) and also  made fun of doctors for their sense of superpower and condescension.  He caricatured American critics, not appreciated by Henry, through his animal-sculpted wooden doors.

Henry had tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, by being a banker on Wall Street, but left to become an artist and follow his passion. He had ties with Rodin in Paris, which helped him connect to the Parisian art world.  Both Henry and Marie had been previously married with children; they felt passionate about each other and about art and had one son together.

What’s amazing is that after Henry’s death, Marie stayed at the château through the years of German occupation, having hidden and buried all of Henry’s art work, humbly welcoming Germans to stay at the château as a cover.  Her strength of character and passion for her husband and his works of art helped save the immense collection that is currently on display – a remarkable love story!

Located West of Cannes, this lovely and historical château is well worth a visit.

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