The Picasso Museum in Paris has reopened at more than twice its previous size, but the vast collection is arranged in a choppy, idiosyncratic way.
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The Musée Picasso enjoys virtually sacred status in France. It symbolises the union of Pablo Picasso, the most prolific artist of the 20th century, and Paris, the city he loved and lived in. The museum reopened its doors on October 25th after a five-year renovation of its stately homehttp://econ.st/1wmWQWz
Picasso Museum finally reopens after fraught five-year renovation project
The scandal-hit project ran into huge delays and a budget overrun
President François Hollande of France reopened the Picasso Museum in Paris yesterday after its €56m (£44m) five-year renovation, calling it “one of the most beautiful” and “most moving” museums in the world.
The opening ceremony, on the anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s birthday, came three years later than planned after the scandal-hit project ran into huge delays and a budget overrun of €22m.
It is said to be one of France’s most popular museums, and Hollande described it as moving “because it shows the prolific work of the most famous artist of the 20th century”.
Standing in the 17th-century Hôtel Salé in Paris’s historic Marais district, Hollande said: “From room to room, from floor to floor, we see the evolution of Pablo Picasso and the changes in periods. There is a certain creativity that comes from [his] personal life but also from the history of the 20th century and its tragedies; events that shocked the painter and inspired the artist.”
The Musée Picasso houses one of the world’s most important Picasso collections, comprising more than 5,000 works. And it is now more than double its previous size due to the conversion of the museum’s offices, stables and basement into exhibition space.
“Everything has changed and nothing has changed,” the museum’s director, Laurent Le Bon, told the AFP news agency. “You still have the basic structure of the building ... but at the same time everything has been redone.
“There is a lot of fluidity ... one has a freedom [to move] which goes well with the spirit and the works of Picasso.” Mr Le Bon added that the renovation, by the architect Jean-François Bodin, sought to modernise and expand the gallery.
But the refurbishment has been beset by difficulties. The budget spiralled due to an increase in the scale of the work, while an argument broke out between Claude Picasso, his son, and the French government. This culminated in the sacking of Anne Baldassari in May, the museum’s director for nearly a decade, which led Claude to accuse the government of not valuing his father’s work,
Most of the exhibits were left to the French state on Picasso’s death in 1973 while some were donated by his family