Picasso Museum

Located in the heart of Paris’ fashionable Marais district, the Picasso Museum is devoted to chronicling the life, work, and career of Pablo Picasso. Though originally born in Spain, Picasso lived the vast majority of his life in France, and the Picasso Museum proudly houses arguably the world’s most significant collection of the artist’s notebooks, photographs, sketches, and studies. The museum—which is housed within Hôtel Salé, a majestic seventeenth-century mansion—routinely sponsors temporary exhibitions on a variety of Picasso-related themes. It’s also home to a café and gift shop.

Money Saving Tip! Picasso Museum is included 4 different passes: The Paris Pass, Go Paris All-Inclusive Pass, Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass. If you are sightseeing in Paris, you can save a lot of money with the right pass. SAVE AN ADDITIONAL 5% OFF the Go Paris All-Inclusive Pass with coupon code GO5CMANTIS.

History of the Picasso Museum

When Pablo Picasso died near Cannes in 1973, he’d been living in France for a good chunk of the previous 70 years. Upon his death, Picasso’s family donated a tremendous amount of the artist’s personal belongings to the French government. In short order, plans were made to exhibit these donated items—which included everything from paintings and sculptures to personal photographs and pieces of furniture—in a newly established public facility. The Hôtel Salé—an exquisite mansion built during the 1650s but long neglected—was selected as the site of this new institution, which was to be called the Musée National Picasso.

In preparation for its new role, the Hôtel Salé was extensively renovated and leased from the French government to the city of Paris for a term of 99 years. Between 2009 and 2014, the Picasso Museum (and Hôtel Salé) underwent a massive expansion project, with the result being the attraction more than tripled in size. Today, the Picasso Museum remains a popular, single-artist museum.

Picasso Museum Highlights

The Picasso Museum’s permanent collection contains some 5,000 artworks and tens of thousands of archival documents. Among the many treasures that make up the museum’s remarkable holdings are paintings, sculptures, sketches, studies, drafts, and notebooks from across Picasso’s long and storied career. The Picasso Museum even possesses thousands of the artist’s personal photographs and books, as well as numerous pieces of furniture.

While the museum is home to a wide range of notable artifacts, several particular pieces by Picasso stand out. Acclaimed artworks you won’t want to miss when visiting the Picasso Museum include Self-Portrait 1901, a haunting painting of the artist as a gaunt 20-year-old done in an icy blue; Olga in an Armchair, a 1918 portrait of the ballerina Olga Khokhlova; and Massacre in Korea, considered by many to be one of the twentieth century’s greatest anti-war artworks.

The Picasso Museum also regularly hosts a variety of special exhibits. By their very nature, these temporary shows are always changing, but recent productions of note include Picture Picasso, which highlights films, documentaries, and news reports showcasing the artist throughout his life; Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo, a show bringing together several portraits Picasso created for his daughter; and Picasso-Rodin, a collaboration between the Picasso Museum and the Rodin Museum.

More to See and Do at the Picasso Museum

Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you plan your visit to the Picasso Museum.

•As discussed above, the Picasso Museum is located within the Hôtel Salé, which is itself an impressive attraction. While you’re enjoying all that the Picasso Museum has to offer, you’ll want to be sure and admire the plentiful bells and whistles of this outstanding example of seventeenth-century Baroque architecture.

•The Picasso Museum’s in-house dining option is Le Café sur le toit: The Rooftop Café. This charming spot is indeed located on the roof of the historic building, and it’s a wonderful place to sample some local French cuisine. The menu typically includes a fine selection of salads, sandwiches, pastries, and more.

•Visitors seeking on-site refreshment in a more casual setting will want to check out the attraction’s self-service coffee bar. Located on the first floor of the Hôtel Salé, this pleasant establishment is an enjoyable place to caffeinate before or after you’ve explored the museum.

•The Picasso Museum’s shop is a terrific place to pick up a souvenir or gift for that art lover in your life. It sells a selection of postcards, prints, magnets, and notebooks, as well as a wide range of books on art history and an assortment of art supplies. The shop also sells items pertaining to each one of its temporary exhibits.

Why the Picasso Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List

Pablo Picasso casts a long shadow over the art world of the twentieth century, and anyone with an interest in this controversial figure’s life, career, and artistic influence will want to take the time to visit this thought-provoking museum. Even if Picasso (and modernist art) isn’t your cup of tea, the Picasso Museum is worth a stop on account of the wonderful architecture of the fabulous Hôtel Salé.