Pablo Picasso La Crucifixion in the Musée Picasso, Paris
Pablo Picasso's Crucifixion (detail; 1930) in the Musée Picasso of Paris.

The Picasso Museum of Paris

Picasso left some $50 million in French inheritance taxes when he died. To pay off this massive debt, the state accepted from Picasso's estate 203 paintings, 177 sculptures and reliefs, 88 ceramic pieces, and mroe than 3,000 sketches and engravings and assemblages.

More Picassos in Paris
• Musée de L'Orangerie
• Musée d'Orsay
• Musée Maillol / Fondation Dina Vierny
• Maison de l'UNESCO
The good news is that this is one of the most representative collections of Picasso's works in the world, spanning his stupefyingly long career from 1895 to 1972.

The bad news is that the space—inside the gorgeous Renaissance Hôtel Salé, a Marais mansion built in 1650s for a man who became rich off collecting salt taxes (hence: salé)—is much smaller than the collection.

So, given the necessarily constant rotation of works, you never know whether you'll get to see masterpieces such as Le Baiser (inspired by his marriage to Jacquline Roque; 1969), Pan Flute (1923), Two Women Running Along the Beach (1922), The Crucifixion (1930), a Self-Portrait (1906), or Nude in a Red Armchair (1929).

Then there's Picasso's own art collection housed here (primarily sketches) by the likes of Degas, Cezanne, Matisse, Renoir, Corot, and De Chirico.

Alongside the art are some more wonderfully mundane objects, like Picasso's paint-spattered ladderback chair holding a bowl of brushes, as if the master just stepped away and would be back to finish a painting any minute now.

The other good news, then, is that the recent renovation added additional gallery space—enough room to display more than 500 of Picasso's works at a time.

Picasso Museum tips

Planning your time

The museum takes about an hour to see properly. Picasso fans will, of course, spend longer.

» Paris suggested itineraries

Great Picasso quotes
  • It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.
  • Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.
  • There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot—but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.
  • Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.
  • The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
  • I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.
  • There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.
  • I do not seek. I find.
  • Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
  • All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
  • Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.
  • The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?
  • Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?
  • I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
  • Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
  • Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
  • Everything you can imagine is real.
  • Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.
  • God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.
  • My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.
  • Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
  • You mustn't always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.






Pablo Picasso La Course, or Duex Femmes Courant sur la Plage, in the Musée Picasso, Paris

Above: Two Women Running on the Beach (1922)
Below: The Kiss (1969)

Pablo Picasso Le Baiser in the Musée Picasso, Paris



Pablo Picasso Grand nu au Fanteuil Rouge in the Musée Picasso, Paris

Above: Nude in a Red Armchair (1929)
Below: Picasso's chair. (Photo by Kristen Harvey)

Picasso's chair, Picasso Museum, Paris