Plans for a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso and his second wife Jacqueline Roque that was set to open next year in in Aix-en-Provence, France, have been abandoned for the time being. According to a report by the Art Newspaper, the Musée Jacqueline et Pablo Picasso, which would have held some 1,000 paintings by the artist, fell through as a result of a failed negotiation between the French town’s city council and Jacqueline’s daughter and Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay, who headed the project for the institution.
The institution had been set to be housed in the former convent of Couvent des Prêcheurs, and the city council voted in 2017 to sell the property and its attached church ambulatory to the company Madame Z, owned by Hutin-Blay, for €11.5 million (about $13.5 million).
Maryse Joissains Masini, mayor of Aix-en-Provence, announced that plans for the museum have been canceled because the city council could not reach an agreement with Hutin-Blay for the sale. Couvent des Prêcheurs was valued at €12.5 million (about $14.6 million) by the property agency France Domaines but offered at a lower price due to “strong local interest” in the project, according to officials.
Hutin-Blay reportedly refused to accept a clause in the sale requiring the Couvent des Prêcheurs to function as a museum for at least 15 years. Joissains Masini wrote in a statement on Facebook that the plans for the museum also entailed “long negotiations” with the diocese over the adjoining church, and that the lowered price of the property was a “political choice, dictated both by the major public interest of the project and by the municipal willingness to welcome the museum.”
The mayor concluded in her statement, “If Catherine Hutin agreed to sign the compromise with the Assignment Clause and presented a non-exhaustive list of Pablo Picasso’s works that could be exhibited in this cultural place, we would gladly revive this beautiful project.”