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John Dyer: A Modern Artist Painting in France

  • 9 min read

Artist John Dyer painting in Menton, France on the Côte d'Azur

Above: John Dyer holding one of his finished paintings of Menton in the South of France.

If you're looking for a little bit of France to take home with you, look no further than the latest collection of French paintings by John Dyer. This talented artist has just released a new set of paintings, all of which were created during the summer of 2022 in the South of France, Monaco and Italy. The paintings capture the beauty and charm of this region, with its vibrant colours and charming towns. Whether you're admiring the view from Menton or Nice in France, or taking in the sights of Monaco or Rocchetta Nervina in Italy, each painting is sure to transport you to this enchanting corner of the world. In this blog John's wife, artist Joanne Short, talks about the family's latest trip to the South of France and John's latest collection of paintings.

A French Connection

The Côte d'Azur has played an important part in our lives and will always be a huge influence to us as a family. In 2007 we moved to Menton for a while. Our children spent three informative years of their lives there, and learned to love the french lifestyle and culture.

The Dyer family of artists in Menton, France in 2007. From left to right - John Dyer, Wilamena Dyer, Joanne Short and Martha-Lilly Dyer.
Above: John Dyer, Wilamena Dyer, Joanne Short and Martha-Lilly Dyer in Menton in 2007

John and I were influenced by the beautiful colour and light and painted some of our best paintings and after several years without foreign travel of any kind, due to the pandemic, it was time to get back out there and the obvious place to go was back to our much loved Menton.

John Dyer, Joanne Short, Wilamena Dyer and Martha-Lilly Dyer on the balcony of the Winter Palace in Menton in France in 2022
Above: Martha-Lilly DyerWilamena Dyer, Joanne Short and John Dyer on the balcony of the famous Winter Palace in Menton, France in 2022

Famous French Artists

There is a rich history of painting in Provence and the Côte d'Azur. Some of the world's most famous french artists lived and painted in the South of France. There are many famous works of french art displayed worldwide and many of these famous french painters are linked to the Côte d'Azur.

Impressionism is a hugely influential art movement. Impressionism began when painters decided to abandon their studios and instead paint colours and landscapes as they naturally occurred. Impressionists used visible brushstrokes, which was a sharp contrast to the smooth paintings that were popular before this art movement began. You can see light and colour clearly in these new paintings, rather than an idealized or imaginary scene.

John Dyer painting on the beach in Menton, France
Above: John Dyer painting on the beach in Menton, France in 2022

John spends a lot of his time painting 'en plein air' himself. When talking about what he likes best about painting outside he says:

"By painting fine art outside immersed in the landscape an artist gets to see new things which are happening all the time. A dog may walk by, a bird may fly past, or a cyclist ride by. I am able to capture the essence of what is all around me, even bring things into the painting which are behind me at that time. I feel that my most successful paintings are those I am lucky enough to paint outdoors, in situ."

Artist John Dyer on the beach at work on a painting of Menton in France.
Above: John Dyer at work painting on the beach at Menton in the South of France.

Above: 'French Summer Fun, Menton, France', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas

This painting captures the essence of a lazy summer day by the beach. The sun-drenched colours and relaxed figures create a feeling of warmth and leisure. The blue sea beckons, and the brightly coloured beach towels and parasols add a touch of fun. The Mediterranean-style buildings and cathedral provide a backdrop for the scene, while the purple mountains soar above the town. Palm trees line the edge of the beach, providing a natural frame for the painting. This idyllic image is sure to bring back fond memories for anyone who has ever enjoyed a lazy day by the water in the South of France. 

John Dyer painting of Larvotto Beach in Monaco
'Soaking up the Sun, Larvotto Beach, Monaco', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas.

Larvotto beach in Monaco is a beautiful sight to behold and in this painting John captures its essence perfectly. The idyllic scene of the sun-soaked beach, with its parasols and sunbathers, is brought to life with vivid colours and stunning detail. The palm trees swaying in the breeze add an extra touch of realism to the painting, making it a truly mesmerising work of art. It's the perfect way to bring a little bit of summer into your home all year round.

John Dyer painting of Menton in France
Above: 'Mediterranean Moment, Menton, France', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas

This painting captures the essence of the French Riviera, with its beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere. The sunbathers and swimmers on the beach look like they are enjoying a perfect day, and the sexy couple in the foreground are clearly having a great time too. The colourful buildings of Menton in the background provide a beautiful backdrop, and the whole scene has a wonderfully relaxed French Riviera atmosphere. This painting is sure to add a touch of glamour to any room, and it would make a great addition to any art collection. 

John Dyer painting of Monte-Carlo in Monaco
Above: 'Summer Flowers at Monte Carlo', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas.

In his painting, 'Summer Flowers at Monte Carlo,' acclaimed artist John Dyer captures the lavish lifestyle and alluring setting of this iconic destination. The grand casino contrasts with Hibiscus flowers in the foreground to create a magical atmosphere that evokes the carefree Gatsby-esque lifestyle of Monaco's elite.

John Dyer painting of the Promenade des Anglaise at Nice and the Hotel Negresco in France
Above: 'Summer Fun on the Beach, Le Negresco, Nice', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas.

This lovely painting by John Dyer captures the summertime feel of Nice, France perfectly. The Le Negresco hotel is located on the Promenade des Anglaise, with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. The addition of a French dog, cyclists and scooters to the mix adds narrative and energy to the scene. Of course, no trip to Nice would be complete without a visit to the beach! Here we see nubile bathers splashing about in the Mediterranean - a true slice of paradise.

Famous french artists who have painted in the South of France 

Claude Monet

Monet painting of Antibes in France

Above: Gardener's House at Antibes by Claude Monet 1888. Available as an Open Edition art print

During his stay in Antibes from January to May 1888, famous artist Claude Monet created 35 paintings.

Monet painted this scene of a gardener's house while he was staying in Antibes, France for five months. In the Mediterranean sun, his colours became lighter and his paint surfaces had more texture from the thick layers of paint. 

“What I bring back from here, will be sweetness itself, white, pink, and blue, all enveloped in a magical air.”

The colours are strong and the paint surfaces seem to be drenched in light and heat as if they were from the Mediterranean coast.

Claude Monet painting of the road to Menton in France
Above: La route rouge près de Menton 1884 66 x 82cm oil on canvas by Claude Monet

During the summer of 1884, while Monet was returning home to Giverny after several months in Bordighera, the red road near Menton was painted by him. Daniel Wildenstein comments on this work in Monet's catalogue raisonné:

"This view from the Cap Martin, with the promenade which still today runs around the Cape in the foreground, shows the Tête de Chien overlooking Monte Carlo and the rock of Monaco in the background and the Cap d'Ail on the left"

D. Wildenstein
Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Vol. II, Cologne, 1996, p. 332


Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Renoir painting of the South of France and Côte d'Azur
Above: Paysage à Cagnes-sur-mer by Pierre Auguste Renoir Paysage à Cagnes-sur-mer. c1907, available as an Open Edition art print

Pierre-Auguste Renoir is one of the world's most famous french painters

In 1907, Renoir moved to the picturesque setting of Cagnes-sur-Mer, on the Côte d’Azur, purchasing the attractive stone farmhouse Les Collettes. The two-story home, set in beautiful olive and citrus orchards with views of the Mediterranean Sea and distant mountains, was the ideal backdrop for Renoir's artwork. He lived here for the rest of his life.

This particular painting is evocative of Renoir's sentiments for Les Collettes, with the warmth of tone and brightness of light conveying his love for the village. Renoir's lively brushstrokes and lively use of colour beautifully capture the picturesque rural landscape he loved so much. Renoir painted during the last twenty years of his life on the Côte d'Azur even after arthritis severely limited his mobility. 

Paul Gauguin

Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin
Above: Vincent Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin, 1888

While he was initially associated with the Impressionist painters in Paris, Paul Gauguin was a famous french painter known for his opulent paintings of nude bathers, Tahiti and its people, and haystacks in the Breton countryside. He became one of the most influential figures within the artistic movements of Fauvism and Expressionism. He is considered the pioneer of the Symbolist art movement in France.

In December 1888, Gauguin completed this portrait of Van Gogh. The painting depicts him in the act of painting sunflowers, which would later be called either 'The Painter of Sunflowers' or 'Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers'. At first, Van Gogh did not appreciate how he looked in the portrait, feeling that it made him look like a madman. However, over time his opinion softened and he came to see value in the work. 

Raoul Dufy

1ere Biennale de Peinture de France Menton 1951 poster design by Raoul Dufy
Above: 1ere Biennale de Peinture de France Menton 1951 Poster designed by Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy was a famous French artist who was known for his paintings and drawings of palm trees. He typically portrayed them in a bright, cheerful manner, using bold colours and simple lines. For Dufy, palm trees symbolized the beauty and vitality of the French Riviera, where he often vacationed. In many of his works, he depicted people enjoying the sun and sea beneath the palm trees, conveying a sense of happiness and relaxation. While Dufy's palm tree paintings are some of his most famous works, he also created many drawings and prints of palm trees throughout his career like this poster he designed for the art exhibition in Menton. These works are highly sought after by collectors and continue to be popular today.

John Dyer also celebrates the vibrancy of the world and often uses palm trees for energy and life in his paintings. John Dyer also lived and painted in Menton on the French Riviera was was resident there for three years from 2007 to 2010.

John Dyer Nocturne painting of Menton in France
Above: 'Love under the Moon, Menton, France', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas.

In 'Love under the Moon, Menton, France', captures the magic of an evening stroll through the old town of Menton. The scene is illuminated by a full moon, and tall palm trees and banana plants give it a tropical feel. Swifts dart through the air in the summer heat, and the overall effect is one of joie de vivre. This stunning painting is sure to fill you with a sense of la dolce vita, and it is the perfect way to bring a little bit of the Mediterranean into your home. 

John Dyer painting of Nice and the French Riviera in France
Above: 'Cycling and Swimming in Nice', 12x12 inches acrylic on canvas

The bright and evocative painting by John Dyer of Nice is a stunning depiction of the Riviera city. The sun-drenched colours and active scene capture all of the joy and vitality of a seaside summer day. The Promenade des Anglais, known as the magnificent seafront boulevard that runs along Nice's pebble beach, is the focal point of the painting. Cyclists, swimmers, and sailing boats dot the scene in various places; against the azure sky, Belle Epoque buildings rise up in the distance and date palms are used to great visual effect.

Dufy's paintings of the Côte d'Azur are full of vibrant Mediterranean light, as if trying to encapsulate the liveliness that emits from the Riviera. In this artwork in particular, he focuses on Nice's renowned coastline La Baie des Anges; a location which also inspired fellow Fauve painter Henri Matisse.

Nice, La Baie des Anges, Nice by Raoul Dufy
Above:  Nice, La Baie des Anges, Nice by Raoul Dufy

The bay's blue waters and clear light, together with its well-dressed pedestrians moving about created an ever-changing scenery-One which could be found in other celebrated works by Matisse such as Femme assise, le dos tourné vers la fenêtre ouverte now located in Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Henri Matisse

Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, Henri Matisse, 1922.
Above: Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, by Henri Matisse, 1922.


Above: Photo of Villa La Reve where Matisse lived and worked
large red interior-1948 by Matisse
Above: Large Red Interior, by Matisse,1948

In 1943, at the age of 74, Henri Matisse, the most famous french artist of his time, moved to the French Riviera, to a small town called Vence. There, he rented a large villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, which he named Le Reve (The Dream). It was in this idyllic setting that Matisse created some of his most famous paintings, including Yellow and Blue Interior of 1946, Large Red Interior of 1948. These paintings reflect Matisse's distinctive style, which combines bright colours with bold patterns and shapes. But they also capture the light and energy of the Mediterranean landscape, making them some of his most vibrant and alive works. He went on to create his series of 'cut-outs', some of his most celebrated masterpieces. 

Artist John Dyer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with a Matisse painting
Above: Artist John Dyer with a Henri Matisse painting in the Museum of Modern Art in New York

John Dyer's paintings reflect the beauty and life of the places he has visited. From his vibrant depictions of the French Riviera to his tropical palm trees, each painting is a celebration of the world around us. Whether you're looking for a little bit of Mediterranean charm or some sunshine-drenched inspiration, John Dyer's art is sure to please.

You can view John Dyer's latest French Riviera paintings on our online art gallery now and also discover a wide range of French Riviera and Provence art prints that are available to buy.

Thanks for following along on our journey through his work and be sure to visit our online exhibition of John Dyer's new collection of French Riviera paintings and our full collection of contemporary art original paintings of France and Italy from all our artists.

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