Pablo Picasso’s Mougins estate has recently sold for just over €20 million, a bargain for the new owner in a sale that was just the latest twist in a long-running saga.

Overlooking the Bay of Cannes and offering spectacular views of the Esterel massif and the Mediterranean Sea, the 18th century converted farmhouse, known as “Mas de Notre Dame de Vie”, and its three hectares of grounds, was where the Spanish artist lived and worked from 1961 until his death in 1973, finding peace and inspiration for his final works. It is also where his muse and second wife, Jacqueline Rogue, the heroine of more than 400 of his paintings, took her own life in 1986. The traditional Provencal bastide, which belonged to the Guinness brewing family before Picasso bought it, and was well used to welcoming famous guests including Winston Churchill, was then abandoned for nearly three decades.

A few years ago, the painter’s daughter Catherine Hutin-Blay sold the estate to a Dutch owner, who renamed it the “Cavern of the Minotaur”, after Picasso’s obsession with the mythical beast. However after carrying out extensive work on the property – he notably added a large pool, garages and a tennis court – he got into financial difficulty and was forced to sell. Earlier this year, the house was acquired by New Zealand financier Rayo Withanage, but was put back on the market after he withdrew his offer due to concerns over the title to the property. The same Withanage was however the highest bidder again at the October auction and has been given a further two months to get together the funds to complete the transaction.

From Picasso’s period, the only original room that is left is his studio,” said estate agent Michaël Zingraf, but it “still has traces of paint left by the artist”, and that is priceless!

Even better, according to the press release, the 15-bedroom estate, described as being one of the most spectacular and famous houses on the Côte d’Azur, “will be commissioned for charitable purposes by local foundations and the promotion of the arts through events from which proceeds shall be donated to causes supporting sustainable development initiatives headquartered in Monaco”.

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Lead image via Musée Picasso, Antibes

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