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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Picasso's son says France is 'making a mockery' of his father

Henry Samuel Paris

Published 03/05/2014 | 02:30

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A view of Hotel Sale in Paris, where the Picasso Museum is located, during the renovation of the building
A view of Hotel Sale in Paris, where the Picasso Museum is located, during the renovation of the building

France was accused of making a mockery of Pablo Picasso by the painter's son, amid a bitter row with the government over the fate of the museum dedicated to 5,000 of his works in Paris.

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Claude Picasso's outburst came after it emerged that the re-opening of the state-owned museum, which has been shut for refurbishment since 2009, has been postponed because it has failed to recruit "enough museum guards" in time.

Extensive works on the museum, housed in the Hotel Sale, a 17th-Century town mansion in the central Marais district, were completed this week, doubling its exhibition space.

The museum was due to open next month, with the event hailed as one of the major happenings of the art world this year. But the culture ministry now says it will not be ready until September at the earliest.

"This opening was supposed to be a great party. They are turning it into a fiasco," said Mr Picasso.

Mr Picasso, who speaks in the name of the Picasso family and represents it on the museum's board, said he was furious with the culture minister, Aurlie Filippetti. "I went to see (her) and she told me we couldn't open in June as they didn't have any guards yet, and she claimed this was due to the delay in the works," he told 'Le Figaro'.

"But these were completed as planned on Tuesday. Who can believe they can't find guards between now and June?

"The truth is that there is positively no desire to open the museum. I am being taken for a ride. I get the impression that France is making a mockery of my father and of me."

Yesterday, the culture ministry hit back, saying: "Claude Picasso is getting carried away. The state is not making a mockery of Picasso when it spends €19m on a building and takes on 40 employees, who take time to train."

A museum source, however, said: "We don't even have 10 guards right now ... The ministry is dragging its feet." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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