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See The Musée Picasso Paris museum in the historic Hôtel Salé mansion

The Musée Picasso Paris collection comprises over 5,000 works and tens of thousands of archived pieces. For its quality and scope as well as the range of art forms it encompasses, this collection is the only one in the world to present both Picasso’s complete painted, sculpted, engraved and illustrated œuvre and a precise record—through sketches, studies, drafts, notebooks, etchings in various stages, photographs, illustrated books, films and documents—of the artist’s creative process”.

“The decision to install the “dation Picasso” (works donated in lieu of estate taxes) in the Hôtel Salé was made very quickly, in 1974, just one year following the artist’s death. But in some way the fate of Pablo Picasso’s estate had been pre-planned, in particular by the “acceptance in lieu” mechanism introduced in the late 1960s, made urgent by the artist’s advancing years. With this process, which gave the State permission to acquire the bulk of Picasso’s works, enriched by donations from his heirs, it was important to find a place to preserve and exhibit them. Supported by the artist’s family, Michel Guy, French Secretary of State for Culture, chose the Hôtel Salé, a private mansion at 5 rue de Thorigny in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement, to house Picasso’s collection. Owned by the City of Paris, the building had been awarded the Historic Monument status on 29 October 1968.”

The Transformation of the Project

Pablo Picasso 26 April- 4 June , 1937

“On 25 April 1937, the small Basque town of Gernika was attacked by the nazi and fascist air forces, allies of Franco. Causing hundreds of deaths, it was the first mass civilian bombing in history and a test site for Hitler preparing for war.” The Musée Picasso Paris


The Musée Picasso Paris collection was created from two donations made to the State through Acceptance in Lieu, by Pablo Picasso’s heirs in 1979 and later Jacqueline Picasso’s heirs in 1990. It has been expanded over the years through further outstanding acquisitions.

Picasso’s personal collection was given to the State by his heirs, in accordance with the artist’s wishes. Initially, it comprised some 50 works by old and contemporary masters that entered the collection thanks to a donation made in 1973. A second donation by his heirs in 1978 extended this collection to some 150 works.

Picasso’s personal archives were donated by his heirs in 1978 to be pre-classified before entering the national collections through Acceptance in Lieu in 1992 (200,000 pieces).

From 1980, in view of opening the Musée Picasso, Picasso’s family and friends donated works they owned or inherited from the artist.

The museum has regularly led an acquisition-by-purchase policy since 1985, helping to add over a thousand more artworks to the national collections.

This outstanding collection has conferred on the Musée Picasso Paris a critical role internationally in presenting Picasso’s work and furthering research into his life and work and modern art in general.

The unique circumstances leading to the constitution of Musée Picasso Paris’ collection make it particularly exceptional. We owe the inclusion of such an extensive group of works into the national collections to the then Minister for Cultural Affairs André Malraux, who started a far-reaching patrimonial initiative following the celebration of Picasso’s 85th birthday at the Grand palais, the Petit Palais and the Bibliothèque nationale. With this momentum and in anticipation of Pablo Picasso’s inheritance, the government changed the law in 1968 to allow heirs to donate artworks in lieu of inheritance taxes and in so doing « promote the preservation of the country’s national artistic heritage. »

Thus the artworks donated to the State by Picasso’s heirs in 1979 represented the first opportunity to enrich the national collection through this new mechanism and create from nothing an important monographic museum dedicated to the life and work of Picasso. The right of first refusal generously granted to the State by the artist’s heirs has also ensured the national collection truly represents “Picasso’s Picasso” and contains works that the artist owned in his private collection throughout his lifetime.

Picasso’s private collection (which was permitted under the proviso that these works were prohibited from being loaned to exhibitions anywhere in the world, including France) was donated to the State in 1973 with a second lot arriving in 1978. The national collections were expanded by some hundred works, which included Iberian statues, African and Oceanic masks, paintings by Le Nain, Corot, Vuillard, Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Le Douanier Rousseau, Renoir, Braque, Modigliani and Miro, and drawings by Degas, Chirico and Giacometti.

In 1990, this already superb collection was gloriously enriched with more works, notably masterpieces from his final period, sculptures, drawings and notebooks, donated through acceptance in lieu by Jacqueline Picasso’s heirs.

In 1992, Picasso’s heirs also donated to the State his personal archives, subsequently awarded to the museum for their preservation and promotion.


The Musée Picasso Paris’ collection is replete with masterpieces and iconic artworks from the 20th century. To see a selection of works from the Musée Picasso Paris collection, click here:

La Depouille du Minotaure en costume d’Arlequin

Pablo Picasso Paris 28 mai 1936

Corrida : la mort du torero

Pablo Picasso Boisloup 19 septembre 1933

Femme a la bougie, combat entre la taureau et le cheval

Pablo Picasso Boisgeloup 24 juillet 1934

Nature morte a la lampe

Pablo Picasso 29 decembre 1936

Tete de femme, dessin preparatoire pour Guernica

Pablo Picasso Paris, 13 mai 1937

Etude de la tete de taureau, dessin preparatoire pour Guernica

Pablo Picasso Paris, 20 mai 1937

Tete de femme qui pleure avec un mouchoir, post-scriptum a Guernica (II),

Pablo Picasso 13 octobre 1937

Tete de femme qui pleure avec un mouchoir, post-scriptum a Guernica (I),

Pablo Picasso Paris, 22 juin 1937

Tete de femme en pleurs avec un mouchoir (III), post-scriptum a Guernica

Pablo Picasso Paris 17 octobre 1937

On voulait voir l’exposition Picasso… L’Express, n 3359


Pablo Picasso Mougins, 30 aout 1971

Le Dejeuner su l’herbe d’apres Manet

Pablo Picasso Mougins 12 juillet 1961

Buste de femme au chapeau bleu

Pablo Picasso Paris 7 mars 1944

La Fermiere

Pablo Picasso Paris 23 mars 1938


The rich history of the artist’s painted works is retraced through nearly 300 paintings held in the Musée Picasso Paris collection today.

La Femme au vase

Pablo Picasso 1933


When it opened in 1985, the Musée Picasso presented a superb selection of sculptures, ceramics and other objects that had been harboured in Picasso’s various studios for many years. Around 250 three-dimensional works make up the most comprehensive collection of the artist’s objects, including many rare pieces such as his relief paintings and Cubist constructions.


In Picasso’s studio, paper was employed in various ways. For illustration, of course, but it was also pasted, ripped, layered, always honoured and rarely neglected. Over 3,900 items were inventoried in his collection of iconographic souvenirs, graphic tokens, historic mementos and foundation pieces gravitating towards sculpture and painting.


The library has some 11,000 publications in its collection. All of them have been purchased or obtained through donations or exchange over the past 30 years. The collection also holds some one hundred books illustrated by Pablo Picasso.

Inside the Hotel Sale

Intended for the main staircase, the lantern was the first design completed by Diego Giacometti for the Musee national Picasso.


The Musée Picasso Paris possesses an outstanding collection of 50 items of furniture designed by Diego Giacometti exclusively for the refurnishing of the Hôtel Salé”.

Portrait de Picasso dans L’atelier de Notre-Dame-de-Vle, Mougins, en avril 1965

Text by The Musée Picasso Paris

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