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After many years of refurbishment, the museum is finally opened.
The Hotel Salé, which houses the Picasso Museum, is located in the Marais, one of the historic districts of Paris. Picasso often lived in old dwellings: the Boisgeloup and Vauvenargues castles, a workshop on the Rue des Grands Augustins, and Notre Dame de Vie. The Hotel Salé, one of the most beautiful hotels in the Marais district, would most likely have pleased the painter, who once told Gertrude Stein, “I want an old house.”. The hotel, erected between a courtyard (bordered on the right by outbuildings) and a garden, is typical of the Marais and was constructed from 1656 to 1659 by the architect Jean de Bouillier. The sculptured décor, particularly magnificent on the main staircase, was entrusted to the brothers Marsy (Gaspard and Balthazar) and Martin Desjardins.
It was in 1974 that the Hotel Salé was chosen to house the collection of Picasso’s works. After winning a competition in 1976, Roland Simounet got to design the museum in the completely restored historic hotel. The architect had to respect the historic character of the building while keeping in mind both the presentation and the preservation of the pieces and the welcome that visitors would receive. The decorative elements, chandeliers, benches, chairs, and tables were specially created for the museum by Diego Giacometti. The museum opened to the public in 1985.
The collection is one if not the most complete about Picasso on his entire career. It was assembled mostly thanks to two donations from the Picasso family according to his wishes. Later more legs have been added by friends and people who wanted to contribute to the creation of the museum. In total the collection represents more than 5 000 items.