Picasso's Paris Studio in Danger of Becoming a Luxury Hotel
The campaign is on to save the studio where Pablo Picasso painted Guernica, reports the Art Media Agency. The attic space in the 17-century Hôtel de Savoie, called the Grenier des Grands Augustins, belongs to the Chambre des Huissiers (Chamber of Legal Bailiffs). The Association du Comité National pour l'Éducation Artistique (CNEA) completely renovated the space in 2002, and in the intervening years has used it to host free exhibitions, concerts, readings, and educational workshops.
After years of rent-free tenancy, CNEA was evicted by the owners in August of last year (see report from the Guardian), and the studio, occupied by Picasso between 1937 and 1955, has sat vacant since November.
Allegedly, the Chambre des Huissiers hopes to convert Picasso's former quarters into a luxury hotel. CNEA has responded with a petition on Opinion Internationale, urging the mayor of Paris and the prime minister of France to intervene to help preserve the studio. The petition claims that one of Picasso's heirs has offered to fund a foundation that would keep it intact.
In addition to Picasso, French actor and director Jean-Louis Barrault also called the studio home, and the space was featured in the opening scene of Honoré de Balzac's The Unknown Masterpiece.
Among the arts luminaries who have attached their support to the campaign are petition signatories Charlotte Rampling, Bernard Lavilliers, Lucien Clergue, Jean-Pierre Mocky, and Didier Lockwood.