The first ever Rolls-Royce Motor Cars European Art Drive introduced a select group of guests to some of Europe’s leading artists and collectors. A dedicated Rolls-Royce fleet escorted them in style.
IN THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
It is late August 2014 in the south of France. Blue skies, brilliant sunshine and breath-taking landscapes await an elite group of Rolls-Royce guests as they gather for what promises to be an extraordinary event.
They are taking part in the first ever Rolls-Royce Motor Cars European Art Drive. A unique event giving them privileged access to artists’ homes and studios, and bespoke accommodation – and a taste of the finest cuisine in the region. And between one studio and the next, the guests, who came from France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany, were invited to drive the entire family of Rolls-Royce motor cars through spectacular scenery.
Day one began with a private visit to Galerie Guy Pieters in Saint Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. Guy Pieters is a central figure in the world of art collecting, widely known for discovering new talent. Pieters welcomed the guests into his gallery and later to his home for an evening drink, where they talked to him about current art trends. Even those familiar with contemporary art found they learned something new from an expert in the field.
Dinner on this first evening was taken on the terrace at La Colombe d’Or, a hotel and restaurant with an art collection to rival any small museum.
Day two began with a drive south along the Riviera to visit the studio of Bernar Venet, the renowned French conceptual artist. Venet works in different media – sculpture, painting, photography, film, music composition, performance art and furniture design.
But he is perhaps best known for his sculptures of Indeterminate Lines, Arcs, Angles and Straight Lines – some so large they must be transported in pieces and assembled on location. One such sculpture dwarfs the Wraith parked in front of it with its enormous self-supporting steel beams.
The next day began with a drive into the hills of Provence for lunch at the Institut Gastronomie Riviera, courtesy of head chef Christophe Guibert. A training ground for professional chefs, the Institut is not usually open to the public as a restaurant. But chef Nicholas Denis and his team made an exception for Rolls-Royce.
Throughout this second day, guests drove Phantom Drophead, Ghost and Wraith, weaving their way through villages in the spectacular Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. As many observed, learning about contemporary art and cuisine, while enjoying the craftsmanship that goes into each Rolls-Royce motor car, was the perfect combination.
A visit to a private automobile collection created yet another lasting memory. The family behind the collection, all of which are registered and driven regularly around the world, live in the hills just 15 minutes from Cannes. Here in a mirrored garage, nine classic automobiles – including famous marques such as Alvis, Jaguar and Packard – take pride of place.
In the evening, Corice Arman, wife of the late French-American painter Arman, hosted a dinner at the Villa Arman. A contemporary of Andy Warhol, Arman is best known for his ‘accumulations’ – sculptures built from destroyed and then reconstructed objects. His wife welcomed guests into their villa for an unforgettable evening – one describing the surroundings as a “surrealist wonderland”.
The final day revolved around brunch at the home of Sylvie Farhi. The wife of the late French sculptor Jean Claude, she offered an in-depth insight into his studio and home. Like Bernar Venet, Farhi created monumental sculptures – often more than 30 metres high. One example, called Dissemination, greets passengers at Nice International Airport.
Brunch at chez Farhi was a truly fitting way to end a unique weekend – what more could one ask for?
Continue your journey
Masterpieces in miniature
Twelve leading artists. Twelve scale models of Ghost, created for a charity exhibition. See how they each interpreted an icon.