Dear Minister Alexandre AVDEEV, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassadors, Presidents and Commissioners, Dear Mikhaïl CHVYDKOÏ, CherLouis SCHWEITZER, Dear Nicolas CHIBAEFF,Dear Director of the Musée des Beaux-BeauxArts Pushkin, Dear IrinaANTONOVA,Madam Director of the Picasso National Museum, Dear AnneBALDASSARI,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear friends,

“Give me a museum and I will fill it!”: this challenge launched in the form of
jokes by Pablo PICASSO found an unusual topicality, today that
his works otherwise fill, at least enrich no less than two
museums and that they come to Russia! You know, in
effect, the Muscovites at the Pushkin Museum, and soon also the
Petersbourgeois in L'Ermitage – can admire no less than two hundred
masterpieces from the PICASSO Museum in Paris.
That is if this exhibition that I have the immense pleasure to inaugurate with you
today is historic. It is the most important that has been
Russia at PICASSO for half a century, since the great retrospective
organized by Ilya EHRENBURG in the same Museum of Fine Arts.
It will, of course, be one of the highlights of the Year, and I want to
thank the directors of the two museums, Irina ANTONOVA and Mrs
Anne BALDASSARI, for their collaboration and commitment
“PICASSO in Moscow” was obvious to all of us.
The painter’s relations with Russia are old and strong, they have
constituted a sort of “pink period”… This shared history is
notably illustrated by the series of sets and costumes he designed
for the Russian Ballets a century ago, and whose exhibition gives us
to contemplate some very beautiful cartoons, animated by the movement of
sketches taken on the spot. I think of Eric SATIE’s ballets-manifestos,
acrobat and the Chinese magician of Parade. I think of the heroes of
Tricorne corrida by Manuel DE FALLA. I am finally thinking of the mage and the
Pulcinella fountain of Igor Stravinsky, as many
mythical shows choreographed by Léonide MASSINE and immortalized
by the genius of the place. These fabulous drawings, like the photographs that
accompany us, restore us a little of the atmosphere so particular
Ballets Russes at the dawn of the 20th century, and echo the exhibitions that
were recently dedicated to the Paris Opera and the National Centre
of the stage costume of Moulins. It is very moving of power
contemplate these fragments of our shared memory in their country
by reversing the direction of Paris' journey
in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Among the masterpieces that the Picasso Museum took away in its
luggage from Paris, I also think of these amazing women’s heads,
painted and sculpted, with the Embrace, or the famous Goat that made,
as in the poem of the
Francis PONGE…
But it is a work whose title seems to me especially
emblematic is this «Study for Friendship», whose completed version
is housed by the Hermitage Museum: emblematic of friendship
that unites our two countries, and that this Year crossed France-
Russia 2010 still allows to deepen, strengthen and, as I
Said earlier, to grow like a garden.
I welcome the exemplary cooperation between our two countries, at most
high level of the State, but also between our museums and our communities
This network will enable the Russians and the French to
to meet and know each other better in the mirror of their artists.
There is no art, no past, no future. Art that is not in the present does not
will never be», said one day PICASSO. It seems to me that this exhibition
perfectly meets this program, by making present to the Russian public
not only the masterpieces of a master and the fascinating universe they
bring, but also, through him, and through this sharing, constancy and
the depth of our friendship.
Thank you.