Picasso Returns To Paris…

pic womanPablo Picasso is making quite a splash in Paris.

Five years and 52 million euros ($66 million) later, the Picasso Museum finally re-opened last month in Paris.

It has doubled its original size. The director, Anne Baldassari, was fired and much drama surrounded the 5 year renovation.

Musee National Picasso-Paris Lobby
Musee National Picasso-Paris Lobby

The museum’s 17th-century home, the Hôtel Salé, in the historic Marais district, with its garden, courtyard and two-story entrance hall, has had a successful face lift, although I must admit to missing the incredible artwork which used to be placed in the nooks and crannies of the museum.

picasso le petit dejeuner

I knew I had to pay homage to one of my favorite museums so I bought tickets online. It was a damn good thing I did. The attendance is restricted and people start lining up in the narrow streets surrounding the museum by early morning.

Our entry time was high noon and we were requested to arrive 15 minutes early. We showed our tickets and walked through the gates, avoiding the long lines. We queued up outside in the courtyard for a few minutes before entering the museum.

Light Fixtures In Picasso Museum
Light Fixtures In Picasso Museum

The building is beautiful as always, the vestibule gracious and stately. There is a new side entrance, a bookstore and miles of virginal white walls.

Picasso's Early Period
Picasso’s Early Period

The art is brilliant. 450 works encompassing his career are on display. There are actually over 5,000 pieces in Picasso’s storied collection.

Self Portrait Monochrome Period
Self Portrait Monochrome Period

Picasso’s early works begin the journey…they are enthralling and quite traditional in style.

Almedo Modigliani Picasso Private Collection
Almedo Modigliani Picasso Private Collection

The most exciting element of the new redesigned museum is that the top floor has been opened up, the original beams exposed. The art is from Picasso’s private collection.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir-Picasso Private Collection
Pierre-Auguste Renoir-Picasso Private Collection

Not only are their his personal favorites, but a selection of pieces he owned by artists he loved: Degas, Renoir, Vuillard, Cézanne, Derain, Miro, Modigliani, Gauguin, Braque, Miró, Matisse and Henri Rousseau. It is a very exciting collection of never before seen pieces.

Picasso was a lifelong self-collector who kept examples of his art that he couldn’t or didn’t want to relinquish such as pictorial notes to himself, completed favorites and souvenirs of loves gone by.

picasso bathers

He left this archive to family members when he died in 1973. They sifted through it and gave a vast amount to the French government in lieu of paying inheritance tax. It is this collection, essentially shaped by the artist himself, that the museum is built on.

A Man With A Sheep (1943)
A Man With A Sheep (1943)

The permanent collection represents one of the largest holdings of Picasso’s works in the world. The number of works on display have increased from 200 to 450, presenting a comprehensive survey of the artist’s career.

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On view are paintings from his Blue period, Cubist sculptures, preliminary studies for works like the innovative “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” surrealist paintings from 1924 to 1930, sheet metal cut-outs, and much more.

pic purple woman

The former museum director, Anne Baldassari, has divided the museum into three parts: the cellars represent Picasso’s ateliers; the ground, first and second floors are a chronological and thematic record of his art, from his first paintings in 1895, at the age of 14, to his last works in 1973, the year of his death.

The Musee National Picasso-Paris is a must see. Do not miss this when in Paris. Afterwards, stroll the chic Marais, walk out of the museum and down Vieille du Temple and window shop the enticing small boutiques…stop for an espresso or glass of wine and contemplate the beauty and creativity of the legendary master, Pablo Picasso.

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The Picasso Museum is in the Hôtel Salé, 5 Rue de Thorigny, Paris; museepicassoparis.fr/en/. Entrance fee is 11 euros ($13.69). Arrive 15 minutes before your entry time. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.


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