Delay in museum opening causes enrages Picasso's son

Paris

What might have been one of the great Parisian cultural events of the year has turned into a pitched battle between the French state and the family of Pablo Picasso.

The artist’s son, Claude Picasso, protested angrily yesterday over the postponement of next month’s opening of the Paris Picasso museum, which owns the world’s largest collection of the painter’s works and documents.

“The truth is there is no strong desire to open this museum,” Mr Picasso said. “I have the impression that France does not give a shit about my father.”

The Picasso museum, which has 5,000 works, was closed for renovation and extension in 2009. Work on the 17th-century town house in the Marais district was completed, on schedule, this week. But the ministry of culture said yesterday that the re-opening would be delayed from 21 June until mid-September.

Officially the ministry blames difficulties in hiring museum attendants. But Le Figaro claimed yesterday that the real reason was a row over the treatment of staff between the culture minister, Aurélie Filipetti, and the director of the museum, Anne Baldassari.

An independent audit of the “work atmosphere”, conducted at the ministry’s request, concluded earlier this year that the museum was “incapable of functioning” because of “bad management” of personnel,  the newspaper reported. It is strongly suspected that the culture ministry wants to force out Ms Baldassari.

Pablo Picasso and his son Claude at a bull fight in Spain in 1954. The artist’s son is angry over setbacks at Paris’s Picasso Museum Pablo Picasso and his son Claude at a bull fight in Spain in 1954. The artist’s son is angry over setbacks at Paris’s Picasso Museum (Getty Images)
Claude Picasso, 66, the chief administrator of the Picasso family’s interests, yesterday defended Ms Baldassari in Le Figaro. “Anne Baldassari has been battling for ten years to make the Picasso museum something to celebrate for visitors from all over the world. Are there so many cultural projects of this importance in France today that we can afford to sabotage the Picasso museum? Its reopening should have been an enormous joy. ”

The Picasso family has long complained that the museum has failed to make the most of its extraordinary riches. It has more than 3,000 works by Picasso, mostly from his own personal collection donated to France when he died in 1973. Two further gifts were made, in lieu of death duties, by Picasso’s heirs in 1990.

The rebuilding work has tripled the exhibition space to allow the display of more of these works, which also includes Picasso’s personal collection of paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat and Matisse.

A selection of the best works from the museum has been “hired out” to galleries all over the world over the last three years, raising €31m (£25m) towards the €52m cost of the renovation.

Claude Picasso said he had appealed to President François Hollande but had received only a “vague reply”, and had now asked the new French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, to intervene.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'