Thursday, June 1, 2023

The National Picasso Museum - Paris


View from inside the Picasso Museum

On day 2 of my trip to Paris, I had tickets for the Picasso Museum. This was on my list for two reasons. First, I love his work, second, 2023 is the 50th anniversary of his death, and the Picasso Museum is one of six museums that have organized special exhibitions in commemoration, and my goal is to see all of them.

   My entry ticket was for 11AM, so I had plenty of time for an exploratory walk on my way there. The Musée National Picasso-Paris is in the 3rd Arrondissement, so I decided on an tour of the Haute-Marais (North Marais). This neighborhood is filled with chic shops, galleries and some really interesting places to eat.

I exited the Metro at the Strasbourg-Saint Denis station, and I was immediately greeted by the Porte Saint-Denis. This arch marks part of the fortifications built around Paris by Charles V in the 14th Century. It was rebuilt by Louis XIV during the 17th Century, and is mirrored two blocks away by the Porte Saint-Martin.

Porte Saint-Denis

This corner of the Marais can be a little bit sketchy, with sex shops along Rue Saint-Denis and some questionable looking people hanging out on the street. However, a turn east along Rue Blondet brought me quickly to Rue Saint Martin and the fortress like building that houses Conservetoire National des Arts et Métiers. Their museum collects and celebrates industrial design and scientific instruments. I am storing this museum away for a future visit.


I continued my tour east along Rue Verbois, which is lined with galleries and shops, including the workshop of Jan Bartos, a master violin maker.

Rue Verbois ends near the Place de la République with its statue of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic. From here it is a short walk to the National Picasso Museum.

The museum is in a 17th Century building that was home to Pierre Aubert, who collected the “salt tax”, keeping a hefty portion for himself, and giving his home the title Hôtel Salé (Salt Hall). The museum’s collection includes over 5000 works by Picasso, mostly donated by the artist and his daughter Jacqueline in order to avoid paying taxes upon their deaths.

By Neoclassicism Enthusiast - Own work via Wikicommons

One pleasant surprise was finding an exhibition of work by Faith Ringgold (through June 2, 2023). Ringgold is an African-American artist, born in 1930 in New York City. Her work focuses of the African-American experience, especially from a woman’s point of view. She has worked in many forms, with a concentration on paintings and painted quilts. She was chosen for this exhibit because Ringgold has often cited Picasso’s work, especially Guernica, which was on display in NYC at MOMA, as a foundational inspiration for her work.

They Speak No Evil

The American Spectrum

Postage Stamp Commemorating Black Power

Sojourner Truth Tanka #2  -Ain't I a Woman?

America Free Angela

To honor Picasso’s death anniversary, the museum brought in British Designer Sir Paul Smith to curate a special exhibition of works from the collection. Smith is known for his use of color in his designs, and that is the focus for this show. The works are arranged to show of similarities of color and design, yet they still honor the historical aspects and timeline of his development as an artist. The Picasso Museum has an amazing collection. It covers all eras and styles of his work, along with work in the many different media he produced. The show is excellent.

Jacqueline Aux Mains Croisées

Trois Figures sous un arbre

Portrait de Marie-Therésa

La Famille

Le Dejeuner Sur l'herbe d'aprés Manet

Grande Baigneuse au livre

Téte d'Homme

Leaving the museum, I headed back into the Marais, to the Marché des Enfants Rouges. Established in 1628, this is the oldest covered market in Paris. Its name refers to the nearby Hospice des Enfants Rouge, an orphanage where children were dressed in red clothes. The market is home to restaurants that serve food from around the world. I had lunch at Corossol, a Caribbean restaurant in the market. They serve an excellent dish of chicken wings, rice and plantains.



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