The Musèe Picasso – literally Picasso Museum in French – is housed in one of the nicest mansions of the Maris district in Paris, the Hôtel Salé. The hotel was built in the XVII century for Pierre Aubert, Lord of Fontenay, a salt tax collector (hence Salé or ‘salted’ in French).
The building went from being a literary depository, to a school attended by Balzac himself, to the Central School for Arts & Crafts and an exhibition room for bronze sculptor Henri Vian. It has been the official French Picasso Museum since 1985.
Devoted solely to Pablo Picasso and his life’s work, the Musèe Picasso provides a unique opportunity to follow his career from 1894 to 1972.
Picasso, a Spanish native, arrived in Paris in 1900 and, along with many other painters, turned the eccentric neighborhood of Montmartre into the birthplace of modern art. He also spent many years in Provence, southern France. The French State received many works of him after his death in 1973 as payment of death duties, which is how the collection was started.
The Musèe Picasso’s collection now comprises over 250 paintings, 160 sculptures, 1500 drawings, all of his engravings and ceramics and his own personal art collection, which includes primitive African art and sketches and paintings by de Chirico, Degas, Corot, Cèzanne, Matisse and others.
This is a must-see for any Picasso fan and, even if you’re not, the impressive collection of colorful masterpieces is sure to move you anyway. Unfortunately, the Musèe Picasso will remain closed until 2012 due to renovations. However, Hôtel Salé is reason enough to visit the site and admire yet another impressive example of Parisian architecture.
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