Paris’s Picasso museum, which houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of the Spanish painter’s work, is set to reopen its doors in September after being closed for five years for renovation, the culture ministry announced Sunday.
The popular museum was originally to be closed for a two-year renovation and the delay has caused controversy, with the painter's son Claude Picasso on Friday accusing the French government of indifference and saying he was "scandalised and very worried" about the future of the museum.
Picasso asked the government to do its best to ensure that the establishment reopens in June, as previously announced by the gallery's president, Anne Baldassari.
On Saturday, Jean-Francois Bodin, the architect in charge of the renovation, said the museum could still be reopened at the end of June as scheduled.
In a statement, Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti said her ministry had decided to reopen the museum to the public in mid-September because the main renovations were only completed on April 30 and time was needed to finish the rest.
She made an appeal "for everyone to overcome personal interests and show enthusiasm and calm to allow the project to be completed".
The final bill for the refurbishment of the 17th-century baroque mansion in Paris's historic Marais quarter now stands at 52 million euros, 22 million euros 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, only a fraction of the work could previously be displayed at any one time due to limited space.
After it reopens, the museum will be able to admit 650 visitors at one time, up from the previous capacity of 380. Admission figures are expected to jump from 450,000 to 850,000 people annually.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-05