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French culture minister sacks Picasso museum director

The Musée Picasso in Paris before the renovation
The Musée Picasso in Paris before the renovation Pol/Open access

The French culture minister on Tuesday fired the director of its national Pablo Picasso museum, which has been closed for renovations for five years.

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Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti cited an "extremely degraded working environment" as the reason for the sacking of world-renowned curator Anne Baldassari.

Tensions within the central Paris museum have been creeping into the public sphere for months, but they boiled over this weekend, when half of the 40 or so staff called for Baldassari to be sacked.

They accused her of authoritarianism, partiality and poor management skills which they say have brought the renovations to a standstill.

The state-run museum was originally closed for a two-year renovation and expansion of its space, at a budget of 22 million euros.

But after five years, costs have soared to 52 million euros, and Baldassari has been twice accused of mismanagement and paranoia.

She does however have the support of the artist's only surviving son, Claude Picasso.

Background: Picasso wars - artist's son raps Paris museum's four-year closure

Two weeks ago, he accused the French government of dishonouring his father's memory when it once again pushed back the reopening date from June to September.

The museum sits in a 17th-century baroque mansion in central Paris.

When it finally reopens, its exhibition space will be more than doubled, allowing it to display more of the five thousand artworks in its possession.

Baldassari has worked at the museum for 25 years, and became director in 2005. Her term would have ended this July.

 

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