To tell the truth, I’m not the biggest fan of Pablo Picasso, but I was too curious to miss an opportunity of visiting this rather new museum in my favorite area of Paris – Marais. Musée Picasso is situated in the Hôtel Salé, an old hôtel particulier built between 1656 and 1659 for Pierre Aubert. Monsieur Aubert became rich because of taking care of “gabelle” – salt tax. That’s why his mansion has a name of “Salty house” – Hôtel Salé.
Hôtel Salé – “the grandest, most extraordinary, if not the most extravagant, of the grand Parisian houses of the 17th century”, Bruno Foucart, 1985.
Photo: Béatrice Hatala,View of the façade, from rue de Thorigny. © Musée Picasso Paris, 2011.
This hôtel particulier had a long way to becoming a museum. The owners and occupants were changing. In 1671 Hôtel Salé was used as the Embassy of the Republic of Venice. In 1815 Hôtel Salé became a school, in which Honoré de Balzac studied; in 1828 it was the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. Then it housed the municipal École des Métiers d’Art and got the historical monument status in 1968. Finally, Hôtel Salé was selected for becoming a Pablo Picasso museum in the 1970s.
The Musée National Picasso opened its doors in October 1985. In 2009 the museum was closed for renovation and expansion works and it was reopened on 25 October 2014. The museum follows a logical chronological sequence, displaying Picasso’s paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints, which allows you to see the artist’s evolution clearly.
Musée Picasso collection includes more than 5000 items (3,700 works on paper, ceramics, sculptures in wood and metal, and paintings) and tens of thousands of archive pieces as well as Pablo Picasso’s own personal art collection of works by other artists, including Cézanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, de Chirico and Matisse and a fine collection of African art.
The unique modernist interior architecture was made by Roland Simounet – luminous white-washed walls and pristine volumes make the perfect showcase for Picasso’s artworks.
The furnishings and exquisite chandeliers were designed by Diego Giacometti:
Orange pony opening the door with a little key, Pablo Picasso.
Official website: Musée Picasso
Address: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris.
Opening hours: Tue-Fr: 11:30 am – 6 pm.; Sat-Sun: 9:30 am – 6 pm.
Closed on Mondays (including Holidays), 25th December, 1st January and 1st May.
Tarifs: Regular price: 12.50 €; Reduced price : 11€