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Pompidou-Metz director to head Musée Picasso

Laurent Le Bon replaces Anne Baldassari, whose directorship of the Paris institution was mired in controversy

Laurent Le Bon is the new director of the Musée Picasso in Paris

Laurent Le Bon, the director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, is the new head of the Musée Picasso in Paris. The appointment, which was announced yesterday by the French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti, follows the dismissal of Anne Baldassari last month.

Citing the “deep suffering” of the museum's staff under Baldassari's management, Filippetti dismissed the Picasso specialist and director of nine years on 13 May. Le Bon, who was widely tipped as Baldassari's successor by the French media, will oversee the reopening of the museum in September following a €52m five-year renovation dogged by delays and escalating costs.

An official statement released by the culture ministry praised Le Bon's “deep knowledge” and “ability to showcase the most diverse forms of creation” as well as his experience in “ensuring the success and influence” of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, the branch of Paris's Centre Pompidou which opened in the Lorraine region in 2010.

Update: Le Bon is due to meet tomorrow, Friday 6 June, with Claude Picasso, the painter's only surviving son, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. In an interview with Le Figaro last month, Picasso said he would “distrust and consider as an imposter” any curator replacing Baldassari. He has made no comment on Le Bon's appointment but has agreed to meet the new director to discuss how the collection will be hung for the reopening. “A hang is a creation... using it without the permission of the person who designed it would be plagiarism,” Picasso's spokesman told AFP.

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