The Musee Picasso is an art museum located in the Hotel Sale, in the Marais district of Paris on rue de Thorigny. Hotel Sale is classified as a hotel particulier, a style of a Parisian mansion built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Built between 1656 and 1659 for Pierre Aubert, it is considered to be one of the finest historic houses in the Marais. Pierre Aubert became rich collecting the gabelle or salt tax. Hence, the name of the building. Hotel Sale which means "salted mansion".
During the Revolution it was expropriated by the State. In 1815 it became a school, in which Balzac studied. At this time, it also housed the municipal Ecole des Métiers d'Art. In 1964 it was acquired by the City of Paris and was granted historical monument status. When the Hotel Sale was selected for the Musee Picasso the interior of the mansion was restored to its former spacious state.
In 1968, France created a law that permitted heirs to pay inheritance taxes with works of art instead of money, as long as the art is considered an important contribution to the French cultural heritage. This is known as a dation, and it is allowable only in exceptional circumstances.
By the time of his death in 1973, Pablo Picasso had amassed an enormous personal collection of his own work ranging from sketchbooks to finished masterpieces, so rather then pay tax on the valuation of these works the family requested a dation where a 1/4 of Pabloa Picasso’s personal collect were “inherited” by the French state.
Dominique Bozo, a curator of national museums, selected those works that were to become the dation Picasso. This selection was reviewed by Jean Leymarie and ratified in 1979. It contained work by Picasso in all techniques and from all periods, as well as an excellent collection of sculptures. Upon Jacqueline Picasso's, Pablo’s third wife, death in 1986, her daughter offered a new dation to the museum.
The Musee Picasso contains many different works of art by Pablo Picasso; his drawings, sketches, ceramics and paintings including works from his Pink, Blue and Cubist periods. This collection is complemented by Picasso's own personal art collection of works by other artists, including Cézanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, de Chirico and Matisse.
The museum has made a real effort to present accompanying information. For example, the work of cartoonists of the time who mocked or caricatured his work are displayed along with Picasso's works. There are a few rooms with thematic presentations, but the museum largely follows a chronological sequence, displaying painting, drawings, sculptures and prints. Other items on display include photographs, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and photographs to provide additional contextual information.
The second floor has a special area set aside for temporary exhibitions and prints. The third floor contains the library, the documentation and archives department (reserved for research), and the curator's offices.
The location and hours of operation are:
Musee National Picasso
5, rue de Thorigny
Ligne 1 – station Saint-Paul
Ligne 8 – station Saint-Sebastien Froissart or Chemin Vert
From October 1 to March 31: 9 h 30 to 17 h 30 (Ticket office closes at 16h45)
April 1 to September 30: 9 h 30 to 18 h 00 (Ticket office closes at 17h15)
Closed every Tuesdays