Conversation with Marie-Pierre Germain-Fortini
Villa Elisabeth is a small Corsican family house with a great view overlooking the Mediterranean sea and the island of Elba. But it’s also an artist’s house, inspired by its owner, the sculptor Marie-Pierre Germain-Fortini.
When she’s not in the Italian town of Carrara, where she has a studio and creates figures in white marble inspired by sensuality, she’s working at Villa Elisabeth. Her sculptures are an invitation to tenderness, a travel into sensibility. Here, at Villa Elisabeth, wild nature and a delicate culture shape a quiet retreat.
MARIE-PIERRE GERMAIN-FORTINI, VILLA ELISABETH IS YOUR FAMILY HOUSE, THE PLACE WHERE YOU LIVE WITH YOUR BOOKS, OBJECTS FROM YOUR ANCESTORS, PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES… IS IT NOT TOO PERSONAL FOR YOUR GUESTS?
Marie-Pierre Germain-Fortini: “Not at all. It’s my house, and my guests respect this place like I do. I think they feel something and they move around here as they would in their own property. They go to the library to read a book, to the living room for a while to chat, and of course, to the pool for the view. Especially guests from BoutiqueHomes. They are well educated and interested in art and creativity, in history too…. They speak with me…
“You know what? Guests from BoutiqueHomes are very easygoing. This why I receive them like I receive my friends and family. They immediately understand the way I live, and I think it’s due to the house.”
CAN YOU EXPLAIN?
MG: “You know, it’s not a very old house. It was my mother’s house from the Sixties, and the architecture is very functional, very simple. In fact Villa Elisabeth (which was my mother’s name) is a very simple building. There is nothing luxurious or exceptional here, except the view of course. I think guests feel this kind of simplicity and maybe they have more respect for a place like this one, than for a place which is much more ‘sophisticated’. You feel good in Villa Elisabeth because it could be your home or your mother’s place. So you respect it, of course.”
VILLA ELISABETH IS A HOUSE, BUT IT’S LAND TOO, ISN’T IT?
MG: “Oh yes, of course. Wild land on the hill. Like the house, my garden has a kind of simplicity, a little wildness. I let trees grow, and I cut only few branches. Nothing more. It’s important to me to keep endemic plants and trees. I don’t garden ‘à la française’ or even ‘à l’italienne’. I need a nice terrace to see the view, green grass around the pool and quiet nature all around. This is why colors change with the passing of time here. Like the sea and the sky. The light is never the same and the same is true of my garden.”
WHAT ABOUT YOUR ART, YOUR SCULPTURES?
MG: [Laughs] “Right now, everything is out for an exhibition. I can’t show you anything! But when I’m working in my studio, sometimes, one of my guests comes to see the way I work. Last time, people from U.S. bought a sculpture. I was pretty happy. It’s always an experience!”