artistically decorated living room with large mural over fire place and two colourful sculptures standing either side

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s sculptures stand alongside Jean Cocteau’s murals in Villa Santo Sospir

Last week saw the private view and opening of French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s latest exhibition. LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai was entranced.

The mesmerising Villa Santo Sospir on Cap Ferrat in the south of France, once home to Jean Cocteau, played host to Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s private view of his Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau exhibition; LUX was privileged to be invited.

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Two colourful sculptures of men standing in a lush green garden

The villa itself is something of an anomaly on Cap Ferrat, perhaps the swankiest real estate spot in Europe. Walk down the steep drive from the little road (just around the corner from the Four Seasons Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat) and you are transported into the 1950s. No bulletproof glass or architect-designed pavilions here: just a low-rise villa, its gardens festooned with bougainvillea and bamboo, and, inside, walls decorated with intricate murals by Cocteau himself.

Party on the edge of the sea as the sun is setting people gather around colourful sculptures

Those attending included Lily Cole, Richard Biedul, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kiera Chaplin and Jo Wood.

A line up of guests at art opening along with Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and and Maria Behnam-Bakhtiar

From right to left: Natalie Rushdie, Maria Behnam-Bakhtiar, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, Melissa Tarling, Richard Biedul and Nathalie Emmanuel

Kate Slesinger with artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and LUX editor Darius Sanai

Kate Slesinger, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Darius Sanai

Model and TV personality Jo Wood poses with her son at art opening

Tyrone Wood and Jo Wood

Guests were scattered through the cosy living room, onto the terrace, down the stairs on another garden terrace, and on a final, lowest level near the sea, but the stars of the show were Behnam-Bakhtiar’s sculptures (which also adorn one of the special covers of this issue of LUX magazine) and a soundtrack which featured Cocteau himself, present among us.

Artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in conversation with British actress Nathalie Emmanuel in an artistically decorated living room

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar with Nathalie Emmanuel

A crowd of people and sculptures on the cliff edge as the sun sets over the ocean in the distance

Silhouettes of guests merge with Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar’s sculptures as the sun sets

As a storm cleared and the sun set over Cap d’Antibes and the Massif de l’Esterel in the distance, the melancholy and joy of Behnam-Bakhtiar’s creations added an extra note to the end of summer in an area that has inspired artists for generations. Who knows, perhaps its the start of a new life for the Cote d’Azur as an artistic hub, generations after the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Dufy were mesmerised by the light, shapes and people here.

Oneness Wholeness with Jean Cocteau runs until 30 September at Villa Santo Sospir