Max Dalton: Creative Spaces

Argentinian graphic artist and illustrator Max Dalton recreates famous artists at work in their studios 

by Edel Cassidy
Words Edel Cassidy

An artist’s studio is often an intimate space: a place to escape from outside distractions, an environment to foster experimentation and artistic creation. An artist’s surroundings can be an influential factor in their creative process and will often mirror the aesthetic of the paintings and sculptures made in that space.  

So, what does an artist’s studio really look like? In his Cannes studio, Picasso surrounded himself with an eclectic mix of paraphernalia including furniture, sculptures, ceramics, drawings and prints. In her creative universe and home, Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo kept her many pets, including monkeys, dogs, birds and a fawn. Francis Bacon’s legendarily messy workspace contained hundreds of books, catalogues, crumpled photographs, slashed canvases and empty champagne bottles, amid dusty shelves piled high with art supplies. 

Francis Bacon

Born in Dublin in 1909, Francis Bacon lived and worked in 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington, London, from 1961 until his death in 1992. It was in this small chaotic space measuring 6 x 4 metres that some of the twentieth century’s most celebrated paintings were created. 

Bacon once said of his organised chaos, ‘This mess here around us is rather like my mind; it may be a good image of what goes on inside me, that’s what it’s like, my life is like that’. He used the door and walls as impromptu palettes and left trails of paint across the ceiling when throwing it on his canvases. He sat at his easel which was positioned under the skylight with his painting supplies to his right and photographs and other source materials on the floor to his left. The round, cracked and rusted mirror was possibly positioned for him to look at work in progress from another point of view.

Vying for floor space amid the boxes, radiators and discarded canvases were empty champagne bottles, brushes, rags, art catalogues, hundreds of creased photographs and torn pages of magazines and books that served as a stimulus for his work.

Claude Monet

Although he was Spanish, Pablo Picasso spent most of his adult life in France, from the time he moved to Paris in 1904. In 1946 he began to make frequent visits to the South of France and eventually moved there in 1955. The studio depicted here is at Villa La Californie, in the hills above Cannes, where he lived with his third wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque. 

The villa overlooked the Bay of Cannes, with a magnificent view of the coast, and he turned the third floor into a studio. He had chosen this location because he was surrounded by the things he loved, the sparkling blue Mediterranean seas, the sunny weather and the bright light from which he drew inspiration. During his time here he created an abundance of artworks, including a series of paintings representing the interior of his new studio. It was also from here that he painted his masterpiece, The Bay of Cannes.

When the construction of a new building obstructed the sea view, Picasso left Villa La Californie and moved to Mougins, where he spent his final years.

  • ‘Max Dalton: Creative Spaces’ is published in Anthology Volume 16. Read more features from this volume or buy it now.
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