DREAMING WALLS Santo Sospir Villa

“I became myself a wall and these walls
spoke for me”. Jean Cocteau


“I didn’t have to dress the walls; I had to paint on their skin, that’s why I treated the frescoes linearly, with few colours that enhanced the tattoos. Santo Sospir is a tattooed villa.” – Jean Cocteau

In 1949, the poet Jean Cocteau, met Francine Weisweiller, it happened during the shooting for the Enfants Terribles movie, based on his famous novel and shot by a young filmmaker of the time, Jean Pierre Melville.
Nicole de Rothschild, the main actress of the film and cousin of Alec Weisweiller, presented the poet to Francine. In the Spring of 1950 after the editing of the film, Francine invited Jean Cocteau to spend a week in her house in St. Jean Cap Ferrat. The Santo Sospir villa was built shortly after the war and was purchased by Alec and Francine in 1946. Used as a holiday home, the walls of the villa remained empty till Cocteau’s stay.
Few days after his arrival, he said: “I’m tired of idleness, I wither here…”. He asked Francine if he could draw the head of Apollo above the fireplace in the living room. Inch by inch, he tattooed with frescoes all the walls of the house, Matisse was not wrong when saying: “When you decorate a wall, it’s like you decorate the others”.

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