Paris: Picasso museum mired in new controversy

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

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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