“It is an honor for our country to welcome these new works by Picasso. They will enrich and deepen our cultural heritage, ”Le Maire wrote on Twitter.
During the press conference, Le Maire presented to the public a work, the 1938 painting entitled Child with a pacifier sitting under a chair. According to Olivier Widmaier-Picasso, grandson of the artist, the painting represents his mother Maya. Widmaier-Picasso was present at the ceremony alongside Maya and her sister Diana. The oldest work in the collection is Don Jose Ruiz, an 1895 portrait of Picasso’s father.
French citizens have been allowed to settle debts similar to Ruiz-Picasso with payment for works of art, books and collectibles of national importance since 1968, although such large-scale gifts are rare. The collective value of the nine items was not disclosed.
The gifts will enter the national collections of the Picasso Museum in Paris in 2022, according to Roselyne Bachelot, French Minister of Culture, who added during the press conference that the works will be exhibited as a whole to the public in spring 2022.
“It is with deep emotion that I come to celebrate the entry into the national collections of works,” said Bachelot, who described the donation as “an exceptional event”.