Picasso’s Paris Studio Re-Opens to the Public as Maya Picasso Foundation for Arts Education

Maya Widmaier Picasso and her son, Olivier.
Photo: © Hubert Fanthomme via Paris Match

Some 80 years after Pablo Picasso had settled in the upper levels of the Hôtel de Savoie on 7 rue des Grands Augustins in Paris, the artist’s Left Bank studio will be made accessible to the public again thanks to an initiative by his daughter, Maya Widmaier-Picasso.

It was here that Picasso created his dark masterpiece, Guernica, in 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War. Until recently, only a discreet plaque marked the address where one of the greatest artists of the 20th century worked and lived for 20 years.

In May 2014, the top two floors of the building housing Picasso’s studio were finally classified as historical monument, following a petition launched by the private cultural organisation Comité National Pour l’Education Artistique (CNEA), which kept it as a venue for exhibitions and workshops until 2013.

That year, the building’s owners, the Chambre des Huissiers de Justice (Chamber of Legal Bailiffs), which acquired the building in 1925, evicted the CNEA, saying they were planning a much-needed renovation of the Hôtel de Savoie.

But Maya Widmaier-Picasso, and her children Olivier, Richard, and Diana, had a different vision for the landmark location. The family announced their plans to sustain the protected monument as a dynamic historic site through launching the Maya Picasso Foundation for Arts Education.

Last week, the foundation reached an agreement with the Helzear Company, which manages the building’s restoration.

According to Paris Match, the agreement states that the foundation will manage the ground floor as a space dedicated to “the development of activities related to the knowledge of the life and work of the artist, and for research projects.”

Meanwhile, in addition to completing the building’s restoration, the Helzear Company will establish “a versatile venue hotel that relates to the work of Pablo Picasso.”

The Picasso Museum will also participate by launching artist residencies, which the foundation specifies as projects “linking contemporary art creation to the hospitality project managed by the Helzear Company.”

The address will thus house a commercial hotel, artist residencies, cultural hub, and historic monument all at once.

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