Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

May 16, 2014

Picasso Museum director dismissed over renovation

PARIS (AP) — The director of the shuttered Paris Picasso Museum was dismissed on Tuesday after a lagging renovation, accusations of mismanagement, and clashes between the government and the artist’s family.

It was one of two controversies surrounding the artist that have come to haunt France, which proudly hosted Pablo Picasso for decades.

The reopening of the museum, closed for the past five years for renovations, has been pushed back until September. France’s Culture Ministry said Anne Baldassari, who led the renovations and has been head of the museum for a decade, was dismissed because of the need to “reopen under the best conditions, protect the employees and restore confidence between the museum and its partners.”

Claude Picasso, the painter’s son, spoke out this month to denounce delays in reopening the museum, one of the city’s premier art attractions.

The 52-million-euro (about $72 million) renovation of the Hotel de Sale, in the celebrated Marais district, is set to double the possible number of visitors and allow for the presentation of 400 artworks in 37 rooms, the ministry said.

Speaking to Le Figaro earlier this month, Claude Picasso said Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti had told him that troubles getting security guards in place, as required under French regulations, were behind the delay. Picasso said he couldn’t understand that, and that he had the impression France “doesn’t care” about him or his father.

Filippetti’s ministry then lashed out in a statement at “erroneous” media reports about the delay, and called on “everyone to get past personal interests” and get enthusiastic about the upcoming reopening.

“No polemic will sway the state from its mission” to protect and display national heritage, and to ensure proper workplace conditions and completion of the renovation, the statement said.

The museum’s beauty and rich collections, it said, will “in no way suffer from an opening in September.”

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