Fall has arrived in Paris and with the gray fading light comes the reopened Picasso Museum. Closed for expansion in 2009, the reopening was delayed due to bulging budgets, staff firings, and a multitude of problems – without some dramatic elements, how would this be the City of Light? Accustomed to strife, history teaches us that Haussmann managed to renovate Paris again and again under Napoleon III.
Always a popular museum, and with the expansion, it is now twice the size; I am certain Monsieur Picasso would have enjoyed the maneuvering. Containing over 400 Picasso works, it also includes pieces of his personal collection: Degas, Cezanne, Miro and Matisse. He might have been described, in current colloquialisms, as a hoarder – never letting go of his notes, ephemera from lovers and abandoned lovers. Upon his death in 1973, his family donated a vast amount of his archives to the French government to avoid paying estate taxes. The museum collection contains much of the archived materials.
Critics complain the interior is choppy, the collection is displayed in a peculiar arrangement of subject matter and inaccurate time framing of the works. Don’t let the critics influence your visit.
Since I haven’t visited this week, I cannot comment. Other than imagine Picasso in a typical Gallic shrug: Je n’y peux rien.
The Picasso Museum is in the Hôtel Salé, 5 Rue de Thorigny, Paris; museepicassoparis.fr/en/.