Located in the heart of Paris, in the Marais district, the sumptuous Hôtel Salé houses the Picasso National Museum. It is here that more than 5,000 works of the painter are gathered. In 2023, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death. Let's take a look at this special place.
The Picasso Museum, behind the façade...
A prestigious mansion
"The largest, most extraordinary, not to say extravagant, of the great private mansions of the 17th century*".
This is how Bruno Foucart, art and architecture historian, described it in 1985.
We might as well say that the Hôtel Salé , classified as a historical monument since 1968, is worth a look. As a museum, undoubtedly, but also as a prestigious architectural ensemble. And this outside (superb pergola decorated with wisteria) as inside, where the main staircase is of incredible beauty, signed by the brothers Marsy and Martin Desjardins.
The place, which has become the Musée national Picasso à Paris could not have been better chosen to represent the master, who loved historical residences.
The Hôtel Salé bears its name well. He was initiated by Pierre Aubert, collector of the gabelles, the tax (here, on salt) in force at the time. However, his stay was relatively short, since he only stayed there between 1659 and 1663, the year he fell out with Nicolas Fouquet.
Several guests followed one another. The hotel was used as the Venetian Embassy, and then as a literary depository during the Revolution. In the 19th century, it was transformed into a boarding school (attended by Balzac), into the headquarters of the Central School of Arts and Manufactures, and then into an exhibition store for the bronze worker Henri Vian (grandfather of Boris Vian). Last occupant of the place from 1944 (before acquisition of the hotel by the state in 1964): the school of art trades of the city of Paris.
The Musée National Picasso officially opened its doors in 1985.
A collection unique in the world
The 5,000 works (including 300 paintings and 300 sculptures) and tens of thousands of archival items (sketches, sketchbooks, sketches...) are presented in series of 400 in all 37 exhibition rooms spread over five floors. Painted, drawn, sculpted or engraved, they depict the master in all his creative ways.
And that's not all: alongside his own works is also presented the painter's personal collection , with great names such as Matisse, Derain or even the Douanier Rousseau.
2023: An exceptional program
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso,
the Picasso-Paris National Museum is coordinating the celebrations planned in twelve French museums. An event called "Picasso Celebration" in which more than 40 cultural venues around the world are participating. At the Hôtel Salé, two must-see exhibitions offering a contemporary look at the work of the master of Cubism: "Célébration Picasso, la collection prend des couleurs!", curated by designer Paul Smith, to be discovered from March 2023, followed by the exhibition "À toi de faire ma Mignonne", giving carte blanche to conceptual artist Sophie Calle.
This year of commemorations also coincides with the inauguration of the Centre
Center d'études Picasso du musée national Picasso-Paris located in the recently renovated Hôtel de Rohan. A research center bringing together a documentation area, a library and the museum's archives.
Picasso Museum Paris
5, rue de Thorigny