View of Menton

Starting the new Port de France


View of Menton, Starting the new Port de France        1966

Menton holds a very special place in the heart of AMA. This nascent artist had the fortune that his father was able to buy a flat on the first floor of a villa overlooking the Mediterranean, only meters from the sea in this most easterly town on the coast of the French Riviera. The family were spoilt, it was fantastic and the beauty of the situation so invaded the senses, that AMA determined one day to find his way back to the Mediterranean coast and live there. This has come to pass, albeit further down the coast, in the Var.

Observe the narrowness of the main road on the right hand side of the picture; its width was so limited that AMA could actually flick olive stones from the balcony into the sea, meters away; it needed a good flick, mind you. This road was part of the coast road that connected Italy with Spain!

It was now the mid 1960s and France was getting into its stride revolutionising its transport infrastructure, the road was going to be widened significantly; it would become a two lane duel carriageway up to the town and the group of unassuming, raw sienna and ochre coloured buildings in the foreground had to go. This painting may well be the last showing them as part of the view from just inside the Italian frontier.

In the bright, azure, watery plane, you can see what were large boulders lain on the seabed providing the sinewy demarcation of what was soon to become a port in the bay of Garavan, Le Port de France. A year or so later, the enclosed blue panel was all gleaming bright concrete and all that is needed to make a suitable harbour for private yacht owners and the like. No longer was there the opportunity for AMA to attempt to flick olive stones into the sea, even with just one stupendous flick!

Water colour on paper

17.2 x 60 cms.

Private Collection