“Anne Baldassari”

Anne Baldassari dismissed as President at Musée Picasso

Following a meeting at France’s Ministry of Culture, Anne Baldassari, the President of Paris’s Musée Picasso, has been dismissed from her post, the French press reports. The dismissal follows a series of resignations from senior museum figures and controversy surrounding the delay to the museum’s renovation. The museum, situated in Paris’s Marais quarter, was scheduled to reopen in June following extensive renovation work, a date which has since been postponed to September. Increasing pressure surrounding the museum’s opening was heightened by employee resignations and dissatisfaction with the leadership, according to a survey carried out in March. Doubt was also shed with regards to a lack of security contract for the new building, and a lack of staff for the new catering facilities. Anne Baldassari’s dismissal was criticised by Claude Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s son, whose spokesperson commented that her dismissal should only be authorised by the French President. Picasso has in the past praised Baldassari’s work towards the museum’s renovation, insofar as she raised a large proportion of the funds in times of financial difficulty. It has been reported that Baldassari was offered an alternative position as Head of the Display of Paintings at the museum, but has decided to turn down the offer. Jérôme Bouët, Inspector General of French Cultural Affairs, is to act as...

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The Musée Picasso’s reopening is worrying the French government

Paris, 21 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). French newspaper Libération has reported that Anne Baldassari, president of the Musée Picasso in Paris, received a letter from the Ministry of Culture and Communication, dated 8 January, highlighting delays in the museum’s renovation works. Closed in 2009 for renovation and refurbishment, the museum’s 17th-century Hôtel Salé building has seen its reopening date pushed back several times – and is now forecast to reopen in June. The letter was signed by Noël Corbin, the minister’s secretary general, and Vincent Berjot, director of heritage. They expressed their concerns about the management of the renovation works, and their disapproval of the lack of visibility surrounding the museum’s reopening. Furthermore, they have requested to see Baldassari’s visitor, display and communication plans for the museum, which holds the world’s largest Picasso collection – 5,000 works donated by his estate and family. Anne Baldassari, whose contract extends to 2015, has the support of part of the museum’s board – notably Claude Picasso, the artist’s son, who has expressed his continued admiration for her. She was previously curator at Paris’s Musée National d’Art Modern (MNAM) from 1985 to 1992, before joining the Musée Picasso as Archive Director. She became president of the museum in...

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2014: a roundup of the year ahead

Paris, 17 January 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). 2013 proved to be a rich year – very rich. The art world showed no risk of growing stale, with record sales, major exhibitions, ever-expanding fairs, and legal and economic shake-ups from Munich to Detroit. Barely recovered from the events of last year, the art market’s major participants have begun to make promises of an equally spectacular 2014. Whilst the global economy is not at its healthiest, the evolution of cultural projects shows little sign of slowing down: new museums have opened their doors, and have rapidly accrued visitor numbers to match those of their more established competitors. Significant exhibitions have followed, with ever-more-ambitious shows having been met with unfailing public interest. As far as the art market is concerned, the phrase “economic crisis” doesn’t exist. Whilst it’s difficult to predict whether the exceptional sales figures realised by auction houses this year will be replicated – or even surpassed – in 2014, there is every reason to believe that the demand for prestigious lots will remain high. If works of the same quality as last year’s re-emerge on the market, it seems likely that buyers will respond with enthusiasm – and high sums of money. New art fairs have been appearing across the world, tempted by the business potential of art. Despite increasing competition – and despite the vast difference in scope between some newer fairs and heavyweights such as Art Basel, FIAC and Frieze – art market professionals remain tempted by the lure of collectors and amateurs with a desire to buy. We took a look at some of the largest and most anticipated events for the forthcoming year. Whilst many may remain hidden in unwritten press releases, details of some of 2014’s initial openings seem to promise an interesting...

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Important works at Musée Picasso, Paris

Paris, 3 November 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Musée Picasso in Paris has been closed since August 2009. Anne Baldassari, director of Musée Picasso declared confidently “The museum will reopen on 1 May 2013, and I will do everything to respect this deadline”. The museum, installed in the Hôtel Salé at Marais, an important baroque private residence, was expected to reopen in 2012 however, slow administrative procedures and high price of construction works delayed the project. A new wing is being made in the museum’s park for autumn 2013. The work is primarily designed to replace the building standards, since the development hasn’t changed since 1985 (the museum’s opening date); over 12 million people visited the museum since then. It is necessary to air-condition the galleries for better conservation of the works. By the end of it, the museum should also have easier access for disabled people and a modernised design. In spring 2013, exhibition spaces at Hôtel Salé will be tripled to an area of 5700 sq metres. The supplementary 2000 sq metres added, thanks to a new wing constructed in the park, will provide a space for temporary exhibitions and hosting school groups. The director makes the reception of school groups a policy priority as she states, “every day we refuse twenty groups of young people”. The architectural restoration, modernisation and reconstruction project of the Hôtel Salé was entrusted to architects Jean-François Bodin and Stéphane Thouin — Chief Architect of Historical Monuments. They will lead the works in respect of the monument and Roland Simounet’s initial project, the museum’s first architect in the 1980s. The works are financed by the State, with the sum of up to €19 million for four years, with the rest being self-financed. The cost of the construction has more than doubled, passing...

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