Agence France-Presse (France’s version of the AP) is reporting that after many delays and a cost overrun of more than 22 million Euros (nearly $30 million), Paris’s Musee Picasso is set to re-open in June.
The museum, established when Picasso’s family members “donated” hundreds of pieces of art to the French government in lieu of estate taxes when the artist passed away, shut in August 2009 for a planned two-year, $40 million renovation. Numerous times since, the museum’s administration announced additional delays and more expenditures.
Many of the extensions/overruns were due to decisions to expand the scope of the renovations to effectively double the size of the gallery space in the 17th-century Hotel de Sale mansion in which the museum was established. Before the renovations, the museum could only display a small fraction of the more than 5,000 pieces in its collection. The renovated galleries now have 40,000 square feet of exhibition space. The larger galleries also will permit more visitors to the museum. Previously, the museum staff had to carefully control access to the museum to no more than 380 visitors at one time due to fire codes and other safety considerations. Now, up to 650 simultaneous patrons will be allowed inside.
Major exhibitions are already planned at the new-and-improved museum, including a joint show with the New York Museum of Modern Art that focuses on Picasso’s sculptures.
I’ve only been to the museum once, mostly because of the ongoing renovations that stifled my plans to visit during my last four trips to Paris. And while it is true that the pieces donated to the museum by Picasso’s family are not considered to be the finest works by the artist, the collection is still impressive due to its size (the largest display of Picassos in the world) and its scope.
And if you’re a fan of the artist, the Musee Picasso is a must-see destination while in the City of Light!
5 Rue de Thorigny
Daily, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Closed Tuesdays)
Admission: 8.50 Euros