L'Antre du Minotaure in Mougins, France (Image: Scepter via Businesswire)
The last house where Pablo Picasso lived, in Mougins, France, near Cannes, has been sold to the Bermuda- and London-based financier Rayo Withanage, for an undisclosed amount. The artist lived there with his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, and her daughter from her first marriage, Catherine Hutin-Blay, from 1961 until his death in 1973. The sale, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was finalised in late 2016. The property was sold by the Dutch real estate investor Tom Moeskops and BMB Alliance, as part of the restructuring of the BMB Group.
The main house on the property nicknamed the LAntre du Minotaure (the Den of the Minotaur) by Moeskopsis an 18th-century building, recently renovated by the architect Axel Vervoordt. According to the real estate agency Michal Zingraf, as quoted by the AFP, the only room in the house that is in the same state as the Picasso period is the studio, where there are still traces of paint stains. The property, next to the 16th-century chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Vie, includes 500-year-old olive groves and a particular species of roses, cultivated by Picasso, that only grow there, according to a release in Business Wire on behalf of the merchant bank and direct investment syndicate Scepter Partners, of which Withanage is a founder and the executive chairman.
The property 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, the press release says.
The house has a connection with another 20th-century artist: Winston Churchill, who frequently spent holiday summers and painted there when it was owned by the Guinness family.