Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay, is planning to open a new museum dedicated to the artist and his second wife, her mother Jacqueline Roque, in the French southern town of Aix-en-Provence, where the couple is buried. Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper writes that a former convent will be transformed into the new cultural institution, which will house the one thousand paintings that Hutin-Blay inherited from her mother.
Town councilmen voted in favor of selling the Couvent des Prêcheurs and its adjoining church and ambulatory to Hutin-Blay’s company, Madame Z, for $14 million on December 13. Due to open in 2021, the new museum will boast more than sixteen thousand square feet of exhibition space. Hutin-Blay’s collection of two thousand Picasso works is one of the largest in the world. It mainly consists of drawings, ceramics, sculptures, and photographs dating from 1952 to 1973, the years during which Picasso and Roque were in a relationship.
While Janie Cohen, the director of the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont and an expert on the artist, says the museum will greatly benefit scholars since “most of the works have been neither previously exhibited nor published,” others have raised concerns about the amount of tourist traffic the venue will bring to the small town. Officials project that the new cultural institution could draw up to 1,500 visitors daily.