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The Picasso museum reopens

picassoPicasso: the most French of Spanish artists

The Picasso museum has just reopened in Paris. It's the perfect opportunity to have a look back at the fertile and privileged relation between the Spanish artist and France.

Picasso is back in Paris

After 5 years of renovations, the Picasso museum is welcoming visitors since October 25th, birthday date of the artist born in 1881 in Malaga (Spain).
Since 1985, Picasso’s artwork has been waiting in the Hôtel Salé, in the Marais district of Paris. Even though the artist has never lived in this mansion from the 17th century, it is adequate with Pablo Picasso's character: he has lived all his life in France, particularly in Paris, and he loved ancient mansions.

Modernised, rehabilitated and extended

The museum had become too small for the new "dations" (works donated in lieu of estate taxes). Walls had to be pushed away and the visit had to be revamped. Picasso's paintings are now lightened by Giacometti light models in 37 rooms and on 5 floors.

The areas of the mansion categorised as "Historical monument" have been restored. A modern garden has been grown and you can enjoy a coffee on the rooftop.

A minimalist scenography

The museum shelters a collection of 5,000 paintings, sculptures, collages and drawings. It's the only museum that allows to embrace the full work of Picasso.

The adjoining rooms are minimalist. Wide spaces are followed by more intimate rooms. Thanks to the white walls and the absence of cartels, visitors can concentrate on the masterpieces.

Each room has a theme. Picasso's first pieces are next the most recent ones, and seem to respond to them. This scenography mixes styles, media and eras, and highlights the eclecticism of Picasso's work.

A work that originates in Paris

The artistic communities in Barcelona in which was Picasso during is Fine-Arts studies were already heavily influenced by French artists. The artist discovers Paris in 1900, during the excitement of the World Fair. He is 19 years old and his pockets are empty.

This marks the beginning of his Blue period, with dark tones and cold and sad colours. La Celestina, now displayed in the renovated museum, is a testimony to this trend.
In 1904, he definitely moves in Paris, in a derelict workshop in Montmartre: the "Bateau-Lavoir" (“boat wash-house”). He lives a Bohemian lifestyle and meets Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob. These happy times mark the start of the pink era.

Birth of cubism

In Paris, he discovers Cézanne's paintings, whose first works show nature with geometrical shapes. This is pre-cubism. Picasso would draw inspiration from it. The museum dedicates a room to the preparatory drawings of the Demoiselles d'Avignon. This painting achieved in 1907 in the "Bateau-Lavoir" announces the new trend of cubism.

Spain at heart

Picasso was a figurative painter and he often drew inspiration in everyday life and news. Although he was far from Spain, he never forgot his country of origin.

During the 1937 World Fair in Paris, the artist revealed Guernica, painted in the workshop in Grands-Augustins street. He expresses his anger and rebellion towards the bombing of this village and the Spanish civil war.
A room dedicated to bullfighting also shows his bonding with his country of origin.

Discussion with masters

The last floor of the museum is dedicated to Picasso’s private collection. Under the exposed beams, rooms are more intimate.

Picasso loved French painters, as his collection reflects. Cézanne, Degas, Matisse, Renoir, Braque, Le Douanier Rousseau… the rooms show what pieces Picasso liked and which ones he drew inspiration from. Matisse's landscapes remind the artist's African period, and Modgliani's women his female portraits.

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