On our recent trip to Maison&Objet, the fabulous home furnishing and accoutrement show in Paris where we go every year to scout color trends, my associate Melissa and I decided to go to the Picasso Museum in the Marais district. It was such a worthwhile experience. As Melissa noted, “It is not only about Picasso’s art, but the building it is housed in was fantastic.”
Picasso museum ext bldg
Executed in classic 17th century architecture, it is one of the finest buildings of its kind and because of the recent renovations, it is in exquisite condition. There are three levels and each worthy of a visit.
One of the most amazing things about the property is that it was originally owned by a certain Pierre Aubert de Fortenay who had made a fortune in salt. As you can imagine, salt was very precious as it was used for cooking, preserving, and livestock feed, and sometimes used as a form of currency. Aubert had been granted the right to collect the salt tax, which everyone over the age of eight had to pay. The building was actually called the Hotel Sale and sale means “salty” in French.
The building has gone through much iteration over its lifetime. When it was chosen to house the Picasso collection, first the city of Paris took over the management of the building, and ultimately the state assumed responsibility.
There has been much written about Picasso. He was a fascinating character, born in Spain, but it was in France where he spent much of his life.
If you are a lover of color, his work is intensely interesting as he went through various color periods, including the famous Blue Period and then the Rose period.
We don’t usually associate Picasso with pastels, but these two pieces are housed in the museum and they are quite lovely in the sense of color.
Blue picasso
Colorful picasso
It is his cubist period that resulted in even more color and is arguably the best known and most influential period.
Picasso Dora
Among the most fascinating of his works that are housed at the museum are portraits of Dora Maar and of Marie-Therese Walter, two of his many mistresses.


Portrait of Dora Maar, c.1937

Marie-Therese Walter

Marie-Therese Walter, 1937