Born in Santa-Fé-de-Bogota on October 15, 1844 (maybe one or two years earlier) Alexis Mossa arrived quite young in Nice. He followed the classes of the art school of Nice, then he left for Paris where he became the pupil of Picot and Cabanel in the Art college of Paris. He spent the intellectual life of the capital, painted outdoors in Barbizon, but failed several times at the Rome prize and was not accepted for shows.

As he didn’t not succeed in "making a name" in the capital, he went back to Nice. There, Alexis accumulated successes and official functions: decorator, architect, official painter of the carnival, professor of drawing, curator of the museum of Fine art, councillor. Alexis never stopped struggling for the development of Art in Nice.

In spite of these multiple activities, he endlessly went through the country of Nice to paint the landscape. From 1863 till 1926, he realized more than seven thousand watercolours and a large number of ink sketches, mainly of La Vésubie, La Tinée, the valleys of the Paillon and of the country of Vence. This patrimony constitutes an incomparable inventory of the region and a unique collection of the subtle art of watercolour.

With his son, Gustave - Adolphe, the famous symbolist painter of Nice ( 1883-1971 ), Alexis had an intense creative activity. They traveled together in Italy where they copied the great masters, in the mountains and valleys of the County of Nice where they discovered architectural treasures in particular the frescoes of the chapels. They shared the same artistic feelings and multiplied innovative experiments. Thanks to their technical mastery and to the way their landscapes express a the mood of a moment, these watercolours widely dominate in quality a nd in quantity the pictorial genre of the landscape in the country of Nice. Alexis Mossa died in Nice on December 2, 1926.

Le Pays de Nice et ses peintres au XIXe siècle, Acadèmia nissarda, 1998.

Jean-Paul POTRON