Born: February 20, 1911, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 1, 1984, London, United Kingdom
Lived: Château de Castille, Chemin du Château, 30210 Argilliers, France (43.97475, 4.49919)
Find A Grave Memorial# 176225732
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After WWII, Douglas Cooper returned to England, but could not settle in his native country and moved to southern France, where in 1950 he bought the Château de Castille near Avignon.
Address: Chemin du Château, 30210 Argilliers, France (43.97475, 4.49919)
Type: Private Property
The lordship of Argilliers became the Barony of Castile in 1748. In 1773 the barony was inherited by Gabriel-Joseph de Froment d’Argilliers (1747-1826). Baron de Castille redesigned the old castle of the XVII century in 1785. The baron was arrested in 1794. The castle was plundered. The old castle was a rectangular building flanked by round towers. The baron added columns. The castle was preceded by colonnades which probably the baron wanted to remind the St. Peter's Square of Bernini. The works lasted until 1815. The Baron died in 1826. Since then, some of the additions disappeared. After the death of Baron, indifference was to cause the ruin of the garden and its additions. The castle was bought in 1924 by Paul Grousset from Mr. Seguin, heir of the barons of Castile. The castle and the colonnade were registered with the additional inventory of historic monuments in 1927. The owner was concerned about the cost of maintenance. In 1929, the Minister of Education and Fine Arts was alerted that some of the additions were sold to an American. Paul Grousset wrote to the State that he wanted to sell part of the Castle’s elements and if the state did not buy them, he was to continue to sell the additions before their total ruin. The castle was bought in 1950 by Douglas Cooper to put in his collection of modern art. The collection disappeared in 1977. Several restoration campaigns were undertaken from 1962. The facade, roof, common, the "ancient in dining room" and the colonnade were classified Historical Monuments in November 4, 1983. Château de Castille near Avignon was a suitable place to show Douglas Cooper’s impressive art collection, which he continued to expand with newer artists like Klee and Miró. During the following years, art historians, collectors, dealers and artists flocked to his home which had become something like an epicenter of Cubism, very much to his pride. Léger and Picasso were regular guests at the castle; the latter even became a substantial part of its life. Cooper regarded Picasso as the only genius of the 20th century and he became a substantial promoter of the artist. Picasso tried several times to induce Cooper to sell his castle to him; however, he would not agree and finally in 1958 recommended to Picasso the acquisition of Château of Vauvenargues.
Who: (Arthur William) Douglas Cooper (February 20, 1911 – April 1, 1984) aka Douglas Lord
Douglas Cooper was a British art historian, art critic and art collector. He mainly collected Cubist works. In 1950, he became acquainted with art historian John Richardson, sharing his life with him for the next 10 years. John Richardson moved to southern France (Provence) in 1952, as Cooper acquired Château de Castille in the vicinity of Avignon and transformed the run-down castle into a private museum of early Cubism. Cooper had been at home in the Paris art scene before WWII and had been active in the art business as well; by building his own collection, he also met many artists personally and introduced them to his friends. Richardson and Cooper became close friends of Picasso, Fernand Léger and Nicolas de Staël as well. At that time Richardson developed an interest in Picasso's portraits and contemplated creating a publication; more than 20 years later, these plans expanded into Richardson's four-part Picasso biography “A Life of Picasso.” In 1960, Richardson left Cooper and moved to New York City. Towards his life's end, Cooper was honoured by being appointed the first foreign patron of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, which made him very proud. In gratitude, he donated his best Gris to the Prado, Portrait of the Artist's Wife from 1916, and a cubist Still Life with Pigeons by Picasso. His only other donation went to the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Tate Gallery didn't receive anything. Cooper died on April 1, 1984 (Fools' Day), perhaps completely fitting, as he predicted. He left an incomplete catalogue raisonné of Paul Gauguin and his art collection to his adopted son William McCarty Cooper (having adopted him according to French law, in order that nobody else would inherit anything, in particular not his family). His written legacy is kept at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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