Villa Grock, in Imperia, is also known as
Stone Circus because it once was home to the very popular “King of Clowns”, Adrien Wettach. His colleague and fellow Swiss citizen, Dimitri (born Jacob Müller) once said: “All Grock needed, being the best of all, were a chair and a violin. He was an unparalleled pinnacle of our art”. With such a meager set of tools, he made Europe and the whole world laugh out loud. Even Charlie Chaplin was a fan!
Grock happened in Imperia in the 1920s, and immediately fell in love with the city. He bought a property where he had his villa built, naming it “Villa Bianca” after his stepdaughter. Later “Villa Grock” took his pseudonym, and is now home to the Clown Museum.
Painter and art critic Eugenio Corradi says the building is “an excitement of surprising style. Art Nouveau is mixed with eclectic elements that remind us of the art in an Indian temple; the roof over the belvedere resembles a pagoda; the lampposts in the park, around the swimming pool, are vestiges of the Belle Époque. Every line blooms with flowers. It is interesting and exorbitant in style…” (E. Corradi, “La dinamica dell’arte oltre il moderno”, Armando, Rome 2014).
“Excitement”, “surprising”, “exorbitant”… the description would fit Grock himself – as long as he had a chair and a violin.