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PICASSO

Paris: Picasso museum mired in new controversy

The renowned Picasso museum has become embroiled in more controversy this week when local residents expressed their anger over the building of a new covered walkway, that they describe as "hideous". It comes after the museum's long-awaited reopening was delayed until September.

Paris: Picasso museum mired in new controversy
The Picasso museum in Paris is embroiled in yet more controversy. Photo: Hey Rocker/Flickr

The row over the Picasso museum in Paris took a new twist when local residents denounced a “hideous” new pergola built in the 17th-century building’s courtyard. 

The museum, whose delayed reopening prompted the Spanish painter’s son to accuse France of  dishonouring his father, had the four-metre tall structure built before gaining planning permission and will now have to remove part of it, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

One local residents association said the pergola, a passageway of columns supporting a roof of trelliswork on which climbing plants are trained to grow, would “disfigure one of the most beautiful villas of
the 17th century.” 

Filmmaker François Margolin, who lives beside the museum in the fashionable Marais district, told Libération daily that he planned to make an official complaint to police over building without a permit.

Locals argue that the pergola would also block the view of the museum, which closed five years for what was supposed to be a two-year renovation. 

When the museum, which houses one of the world's most extensive collections of the Picasso’s work, announced that it was yet again pushing back its reopening – this time until September instead of June – the painter’s son Claude Picasso reacted furiously, calling the delay a “fiasco”.

The final bill for the refurbishment of the baroque mansion now stands at €52 million ($71 million), €22 million higher the original budget due to changes in the scope of the work.

The museum's exhibition space will be more than doubled to 3,800 square metres after the renovation.

Although the museum has around 5,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs and documents, previously only a fraction could be displayed at any one time due to limited space.

There will also be a corresponding rise in the number of visitors that can be admitted at any one time from 380 to 650, and annual admission figures are expected to jump from 450,000 to 850,000.

by Rory Mulholland

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MUSEE D'ORSAY

Picasso’s $115-million ‘Young Girl’ to be loaned to Paris museum

Picasso's "Young Girl With Basket of Flowers," recently sold at a New York auction for $115 million, will be loaned to Paris's Musee d'Orsay for a Picasso exhibit opening in September.

Picasso's $115-million 'Young Girl' to be loaned to Paris museum
"Young Girl With Basket of Flowers" by Pablo Picasso on display during a Christie's preview. Photo: AFP

“We're very happy,” a museum spokesperson said Saturday in confirming the loan, first reported in The New York Times.

The painting was purchased at auction Tuesday by the Nahmads, a family of art dealers and collectors that includes Helly Nahmad, owner of a New York gallery, according to two sources quoted by the Times. Nahmad did not respond to an AFP request, through his gallery, for comment.

The Musee d'Orsay's “Picasso: Blue and Rose” exhibit is being organized in collaboration with the Picasso Museum-Paris and will focus on the artist's work from 1900-1906, encompassing his critically important Blue Period and Rose Period. It will run from September 18th to January 6th, 2019.

The exhibit will then move to the Beyeler Foundation near Basel, Switzerland, from February 3rd to May 26th, with a modified set of paintings. It is not clear whether the “Young Girl” will be part of that show.

The painting, from 1905, was part of a major auction by Christie's of the extensive collection of the late US banker David Rockefeller and his wife Peggy.

“Young Girl,” which the American collector Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo had purchased directly from the artist, was sold for the sixth-highest sum ever attained by a painting at auction, expenses and commissions included.

Four paintings by Picasso (1881-1973) have now been sold for more than $100 million each. No other painter has seen more than one piece of art reach that rarefied level.

Rockefeller, who died last year aged 101, was a grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. “Young Girl” was a centrepiece of his vast trove of artworks.

The Christie's sale brought in a total of $832 million, pulverizing the record for a single collection sale set in 2009, when the works of designer Yves Saint Laurent and his longtime partner Pierre Berge netted $484 million.

READ ALSO: Picasso's French Riviera mansion set to sell for 'bargain' €20 million

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