The great-granddaughter of the painter Alexis Mossa recounts a district of Nice through the eyes of her ancestor

The great-granddaughter of the painter Alexis Mossa recounts a district of Nice through the eyes of her ancestor
The great-granddaughter of the painter Alexis Mossa recounts a district of Nice through the eyes of her ancestor

The living room table is cluttered with reproductions of paintings and documents. The large bay window overlooks Saint-Isidore The bell tower isolated in the middle of the buildings which still grow and grow, a few spots of greenery here and there, dotted in the concrete. Sylvie Lombart-Mossa’s villa is contemporary, an immaculate white square at 90 Chemin de Crémat. A few years ago, in its place, stood the ancestral family home, heir to a shed purchased in the early 1920s by Lucrèce, Sylvie’s grandmother and wife of the painter Gustave Mossa.

Over time, plans from Lucretia who had her feet on the ground and the imagination of her husband who had his head in the clouds: the hut on the side of the hill was flanked by a glass roof that became a workshop. artist, of a kitchen with a ceiling fresco, of nooks and crannies, of all colors. The central building was protected by two portraits of the Archangel Saint Michelet of Saint Francis, almost phantasmal guardians on a very Nice blue background depicted on the walls of the residence.

7,700 watercolors in total

Alexis Mossa in front of La Luerna in the 1920s.

With four hands and quite a bit of turbine, they built their “ideal palace”a haven of peace, which they called “La luerna”, “firefly” in Nice.

The patriarch, master and father of Gustave, Alexis Mossa, placed his paintbrushes there at the end of his life. He, the surveyor of the Nice hinterland, the tireless sketcher of landscapes and mountains with tired legs, stopped wandering over hill and valley and settled in this countryside at the very end of Nice, in the Var valley. He remained there until his death in 1926. Of the more than 7,700 watercolors he painted during his lifetime, 965 were created of Saint-Isidore.

He told, through his paintings, Lucrère, the peasant woman from Castagniers who went down to the city, feeding the ducks, cultivating her plot of land, pruning the olive trees. And again, the surrounding houses: that of the Gassins, the Maiffrets, the Daniels… And then, the railway, the electrical factory, the Glacière and the valleys.

That was before the fireflies went out. This was before the Mossa home was destroyed.

Mossa’s family home was destroyed in 2017 to widen the road.

The original house demolished

“They wanted to widen the road, I fought but I couldn’t do anything. I barely managed to save Saint Michael and Saint Francis”Sylvie breathes, bitter.

In 2017, the original house was demolished. Sylvie lost the stones of her ancestors but she maintains their memory with fidelity, constancy and passion. So when Maurice Tornesi, the head of the neighborhood committee, asked her if she could testify to the link that unites her great-grandfather to Saint-Isidore, she did not hesitate for a second. Since then, she has been working hard to prepare an exhibition where she will welcome the public to her home this Saturday June 29 and Sunday June 30.

She went to the Masséna museum which keeps nearly 4,000 regional watercolors by her ancestor.. “They were very nice, I selected 60 of them,” explains Sylvie. The paintings were scanned and printed with the help of local company Peradotto. Sylvie has prepared six large explanatory panels. She retraces this sacred piece of Nice history. And its history.


90, chemin de Crémat. Saturday June 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday June 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Facebook: St Isidore Neighborhood committee.



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