Seven Artist's Havens You Can Visit

Artists' homes are like forensic architecture, chronicling the lives lived and careers shaped in their enclaves. From Portilligat to Coyoacán, we've selected seven properties formerly owned and occupied by writers, painters and sculptors. Wander through their creative havens where you're free, nay, encouraged to snoop around.

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Salvador Dalí House

Portlligat, Spain

The House-Museum in Portlligat was Salvador Dalí’s only place of residence, setting up home in a small fisherman’s hut in Portlligat in 1930. Dalí envisaged a room four-metres-square that would serve as a dining room, studio and bedroom, with some steps up to a tiny kitchen and bathroom. “I wanted it all good and small, the smaller the more womb-like.” Over the next 40 years, these plans would grow exponentially. By 1932, the house comprised of two huts and a small annexe entrance, dining room, living room, workshop and bedroom and over the coming decades additional huts were acquired and the structure reformulated. Today, the artist’s house remains largely as it was, stuffed with artworks and oddities collected and treasured by Dalí. Visitors will note the inclusion of glass skylights – installed to allow Dalí to paint feet – and outdoor towers built in clay receptacles with holes in them so that the vessel whistled when strong winds blew. All the rooms have windows of different shapes and proportions framing the Portlligat bay – a landscape which is a constant point of reference in Dalí’s work.

Address

Platja Portlligat 17488 Cadaqués Girona Spain

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Claude Monet’s Home and Garden

Giverny, France

Claude Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, a small village in Normandy, was home to the artist for 40 years. Notable for its colours – chosen by Monet to align with the palette of his own works – the house features bright pink exterior walls and vivid blues, greens and yellows inside. The whole estate feels almost as though you are walking through a seminal Monet work; the gardens, which Monet designed himself, conjure a particular nostalgia. Monet’s garden consists of two parts: a flower garden of fruit trees and long-stemmed hollyhocks called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese-esque water garden. The latter in particular inspired (and starred) in many of his masterpieces.

Address

84 Rue Claude Monet 27620 Giverny France

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La Casa Azul

Coyoacán, Mexico

Iconic self-portraitist Frida Kahlo lived her entire life (1907-1954) in La Casa Azul, a cobalt-blue house in the residential neighbourhood of Coyoacán. Built by Frida Kahlo’s father in 1904, La Casa Azul was transformed into a museum in 1958 when Kahlo’s husband, muralist Diego Rivera, decided to open the house to the public and the building and gardens became a museum dedicated to her life and work. Today, the house remains almost as it was when she died. Kahlo’s art collection fills the walls and portraits of her heroes Lenin and Mao hang over the bed.

Address

Londres 247 04100 Ciudad de México Del Carmen Coyoacán Mexico

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Hemingway's Finca Vigía

Havana, Cuba

Ernest Hemingway’s former house in Cuba, Finca Vigía is situated in the shabby suburb of San Francisco de Paula. Now owned by the Cuban government – supposedly confiscated from Mary Hemingway following the death of her husband – all his personal possessions remain in the house. Built in 1886 by Catalan architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer, Finca Vigía was sold to Hemingway around 1940. It is here that Hemingway wrote most of For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.

Address

Finca Vigía Havana Cuba

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Barbara Hepworth’s St Ives Home

Cornwall, UK

Barbara Hepworth first came to St Ives – “her spiritual home” – with her husband Ben Nicholson and their family at the outbreak of war in 1939. She returned without Nicholson in 1949 and never left, living and working at Trewyn Studios until her death in 1975. “Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic”, wrote Hepworth. “Here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.” The site is now managed by Tate and remains true to the artist’s time – the gardens laid out as she designed them, punctuated by her large-scale bronze works. Offering a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain’s most important 20th-century artists, sculptures in bronze, stone and wood are on display in the museum and garden, along with paintings, drawings and archive material. “Perhaps the most poignant space is that of Hepworth’s studio, which stands today filled with tools and unfinished works, was where she died in an accidental fire at the age of 72.”

Address

Barnoon Hill St Ives Cornwall TR26 1AD

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Pollock-Krasner House

East Hampton, USA

In 1945, Pollock married fellow artist Lee Krasner and moved from New York City to Long Island’s East End. With a loan from art dealer Peggy Guggenheim, they purchased a small house overlooking Accabonac Creek in The Springs, near East Hampton. Soon after arriving, the newly married artists each had major breakthroughs. It is here in a converted storage barn that Pollock created his revolutionary drip paintings – evidenced in the wooden floor, which is liberally spattered with paint from his perambulations around the canvases. The couple’s home is maintained with all their furnishings and personal possessions, including their library and phonograph record collection.

Address

Pollock-Krasner House East Hampton USA

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Musée Matisse

Nice, France

Matisse spent much of his later life – some 37 years – in and around Nice. Known primarily as a painter despite his skills as a draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor, his mastery of the language of colour and drawing won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art. The Matisse Museum offers a tasting of the artist’s life and works from the 1890 Nature Morte Aux Livres to his famed gouache cut-out.

Address

164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez 06000 Nice France