Picasso’s Son: “France doesn’t Give a Damn about my Father!”

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The Picasso Museum in Paris – one of the French capital’s most popular museums – has been closed for almost 5 years. Pablo Picasso’s son Claude says that he is “scandalised and very worried” about its future

In an interview given last week to Le Figaro, he has called on Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti to “do everything possible” to ensure that the museum opens in June and that current Museum director Anne Baldassarai remains in office.

The son of Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot and who represents the Picasso family on the administrative council of the Picasso Museum, says that he sees “no desire on the part of France to open the museum in June.” The Ministry of Culture announced in the middle of April that the opening of the museum envisaged for June would be put off until the middle of September.

Claude Picasso said that he had gone to see the Minister of Culture to “convince her of his interest in opening on the planned date…. She told me that it wasn’t possible because there were no museum guards and said that it was because of building site delays. However, the works were completed on time – which is to say on Tuesday last.

“I suggested that she accompany me on a visit of the museum… She sent me a text to say no. Moreover, how can anyone believe that you can’t find museum guards between now and June? The minister need only to apply herself in order to recruit them,” said Claude Picasso. “The truth is that there is no will to open the museum. I’m getting the run-around. I get the impression that France doesn’t give a damn about my father or about me!

Maestro and Son: Claude aged 2, sketching with his father in 1950

Maestro and Son: Claude aged 2, sketching with his father in 1950

“I’m waiting for the minister to issue a written commitment that she will do everything in her power to ensure that the museum will open in June with Mme Baldassari in charge,” says Mr Picasso. Claude Picasso also says that he has written to François Hollande and that he had “received a vague response and acknowledgement” of his letter. “My final hope is Manuel Valls (the recently-appointed go-getter Prime Minister) from whom I’m awaiting a response.”

Another point of rancour with Claude Picasso is “the rumour circulating that that Picasso Museum would become a unit of Beaubourg (the Pompidou Centre). Manuel Valls denied this. Fortunately, because if the pre-dating at the origin of the opening of the Hôtel Salé (the baroque mansion in which the Picasso Museum is housed) is irrevocable, the donations that have been made since – most notably that of the collection of works… that my father collected – would be null and void.”

66-year-old Claude Picasso is the main spokesman for the family since 1989, when the courts nominated him administrator of the Picasso estate. “If the ministry is annoyed with Ms Baldassari, well I’m very annoyed with Deputy Filipetti! I was supposed to see her last Tuesday but she cancelled at the last minute without re-scheduling.” The opening of the museum “was meant to be an occasion of unprecedented celebration. Now, it’s become a sad farce.”

For the opening, Claude Picasso had intended to offer to the museum documents from Dora Maar (photographer and lover of Pablo Picasso who was the subject of his painting “The Weeping Woman”) on the creation of the famous painting Guernica, as well as a very significant book of sketches.

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