Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, to Claude Ruiz-Picasso, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in Myung-Mein, on the occasion of the ceremony of the insignia of Chevalier in the Order of the Legion of HonourWhun Chung and Ismaïl Serageldin, and Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters to Evgueni Kissin
Dear Claude Ruiz-Picasso,
How difficult it is to wear a surname: I know myself
something! It implies obligations, duties too. You
are indeed the son of Pablo and Françoise GILOT who made us the very
great friendship to be with us today. Dear Françoise, allow me
to recall on this occasion that your talent as a painter knew
create an ideal link between the Paris School of the 40s and 50s and the stage
contemporary art of the United States.
At the end of the war, Picasso finds the colors and landscapes of the
Mediterranean. He knows a beautiful love and creative period that
symbolizes La Joie de Vivre, painted in 1946 at Château Grimaldi in Antibes.
From the meeting between the influences of the Ancient Mediterranean and the
feeling of strength and rebirth, which always accompanies love
the birth of this Dionysian and jubilant work. The nymph dances
with centaurs and cheerful faunas diaule players, this flute
known to the ancient Greeks. It also immortalizes you, dear
Françoise, in multiple symbolic floral compositions: here goddess
Fertility like a Ceres, the Flower Woman.
You were born, dear Claude [Picasso], like your sister Paloma, during
this period of rediscovered light, intense joy and creativity
radiant. Picasso then returned to an important production of
documents, paintings, engravings, sculptures of which you are the models. It
devotes much of his work to representing you in your games,
paintings in which you read all the complicity that unites you to Paloma
and the tender attention of a mother who watches over her children while
painting. They constituted for him a reserved sanctuary, they were not
never put up for sale.
But his love and artistic attention do not stop there. For you,
he makes toys he paints with humor; for you he cuts
boxes and builds bonshommes as funny as unusual. For
you, he feeds his work, like the small cars offered by
Kahnweiler in 1951.
After studying in France and then in Great Britain, you lived in
New York from 1967 to 1974 in a world of cultural effervescence. You
were the assistant of photographer Richard Avedon, you studied the
directed at the famous Actor’s studio and worked as
photo-journalist for Time-Life, Vogue, or Saturday Review.
Since then, you have never stopped working as a
photographer for magazines, your profession as a graphic designer and
visual artist. This profession has led you to make silver objects for the
table, porcelain service, carpets: having bathed in art, you
know how to re-enchant objects and places. The FIAC of Paris, the ARCO of
Madrid, the International Glass Research Centre of Marseille
welcome your creations. You venture into the world of image and
film, you make several films, including Tour de Manège
dedicated to Barbara, that "black eagle" to which you bring a light and
a singular color.
In 1973, when your father died, you returned to France. Begins
then the inventory of the succession: the task is immense. With the support
a Commission - of which Maurice Rheims is a member - with
patience and thoroughness, you inventory, estimate and catalogue more than 65,000
works by Pablo Picasso! Everyone knows here, the editions of the catalogue
the engraved work of Brigitte BAER and the catalogue of sculptures
of your father by Werner SPIES owe you much.
It is under your impetus that the project of dation in payment of the duties
The European Commission’s
museum. Gathering around you Jacqueline Picasso, children and
grandchildren of Picasso, you are committed to the project of
creation of the Picasso National Museum from its origins.
While Dominique Bozo, the first director of the museum, performs the
selection of works for dation before sharing between the
heirs, you make an essential contribution to the
renovation project of the Hotel Salé bringing all your
knowledge of the work and its surroundings, facilitating relations between
the museum curators, the architect, Roland Simounet in charge of
transformation of the Salé hotel into a museum, the administration of the
Culture and the different members of the Picasso Estate.
The Picasso National Museum owes you in part the wealth and
the completeness of its collection. You played an essential role in the
donation to the State, in 1978, of the personal collection of Picasso
collecting works of his friends - Braque, Matisse, Miro, Derain - from
teachers he admired - Cézanne, Le Douanier Rousseau, Degas, Le Nain -
a collection enriched with many African, Oceanian and
You obtained the agreement of the heirs to place in deposit, then give
to the State the exceptional set of personal archives of Picasso.
With their thousands of documents and photographs, which cover the whole
life of Picasso, they help make the museum the main center
study on the life and work of the artist.
You made various donations to the institution, including, in 2000,
a set of 12,000 ektachromes relating to the
Pablo Picasso who are of essential documentary interest for the
understanding of the work.
I would also like to remind you of your availability to lend
your personal collection at exhibitions organized by the museum
Hotel Salé than elsewhere in the world. You support with conviction the
various scientific and cultural projects of the institution
museums, foundations and private collections for
guarantee large loans to exhibitions. I know you have
Foundation abroad, which will contribute to the
increase the museum’s financial autonomy and international reach.
As you know, as I told you, you know my
attention in its current renovation phase. My commitment to this
ambitious project is total and I want to salute the tremendous energy and the
outstanding work of its President, Anne Baldassari. I am sure that
we will have the opportunity to work in the same direction before its
You have also done an outstanding job in protecting
and your father’s work. In 1989, you were appointed
Administrator of the Picasso Indivision. In the United States, you
testify repeatedly at trials to assert rights
authors faced with less protective jurisprudence for artists.
Your fight for creators and their rights, I share it, I
make mine: in the age of digitization, while the reproducibility of
the work seems to impose itself, it is one of my concerns
In 1995, you founded Picasso Administration to improve protection
and control of the use of Pablo’s name, image and work
Picasso in the fields of literary and artistic property but also
on the ground, more demanding, of trademark law and derived rights of
personality. This is a new direction in the art world:
Picasso becomes a real trademark with registered name and signature.
More than an heir fight, a judicial priesthood!
At the same time, you have continued to organize exhibitions for better
to make known the extent of Picasso’s creativity, from London to New
York, from Berlin to Madrid. You’re one of the board members.
of the Reina Sofia Museum, in tribute to your father who was
appointed by the government of Frente Popular, director of Prado.
Dear Claude Ruiz-Picasso, you have forged and strengthened ties
harmonious between your family and national cultural institutions.
Also, for the generosity you have always shown, for your
contribution to the influence of the work of one of the «masters» of the twentieth
in the name of the President of the Republic, and by virtue of the
we are conferred, we make you Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Dear Myung-Whun Chung,
It is a chef passionate about music and good food that I have the honor
to welcome today in the Salon des Maréchaux. An artist, a
“messenger” in your own words, which has the quality
essential to know how to restore the spirit of each work with purity and
unparalleled simplicity. This simplicity, which Leonardo da Vinci said
that it was supreme sophistication, comes from the heart and study, and that is
that you have distinguished yourself. Because the South Korean, American and
French heart that you are, like a great Romanée Conti, is
with time. Because in any work, natural or artificial, the
time is the guarantor of the maturation of the choices. It is besides your master
Carlo Maria Giulini who made you realize that the real breaths
of the spirit, those who lead far, are great sails that rise
with the majesty of slowness.
From the Latin virtus, French has drawn the words of virtuous and virtuoso –
two words that lend themselves perfectly to your personality. For your life and
your commitments are also part of a philanthropic and
Let us first return to the virtuoso in you. Child prodigy who
discover the music on the piano keyboard, you give your first
concerts at the age of 7 and join the Seoul Philarmonic Orchestra.
Your parents are moving to the United States, and Los Angeles is where the
way of conducting shows itself to you. It is Gregor Piatigorsky,
which makes you suspicious after hearing you accompany your
sisters in the Double Concerto of Brahms asking you Have you
thought of conducting?”. You were 13 years old. Then the revelation
explosive occurs two years later, when in New York, you hear
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboïm.
You don’t give up a solo career yet - you win
second prize at the Tchaikovsky International Competition of
Moscow -, but you undertake at the same time to take courses of
musical direction at Mannes College in New York, then at the Juilliard
School. It is with a chief, as assistant of the maestro Giulini
that encourages and confirms you in your vocation as a leader, that
you decide to serve the music without producing a single sound for yourself.
You conduct the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, you
are invited to the Teatro Comunale of Florence, you assume from 1989 to
1994 the musical direction of the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris, and
many of the most prestigious American orchestral ensembles. I
I would gladly stop here, for I could not mention all the orchestras
that have benefited from your leadership without moving away from my
But I can’t forget to say that you just celebrated
as Musical Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of
Radio France, a magnificent institution on which you exercise a
For through your orchestral direction in turn ardent, inhabited,
bright, wild, through the sensitivity and maturity that emerge
of your interpretations, you are an unusual leader by your
humanity. You have much more esteem for the human qualities of
humility and ethics only for the coldness of a soulless technicality.
In your quest for purity, openness and surpassing yourself, you
reread Messiaen, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Fauré, Bizet, Berlioz or
Beethoven. Far from the chief’s grandiloquences and mythologies
omnipotent orchestra, conducting in demiurge, with an iron hand, of
instrumentalists relegated to the rank of performers, the great Giulini will have you
bequeathed the spirit of dialogue, silence and listening, in the service of
the interiority of works.
You have proposed to exercise these virtues beyond the field
music. You invest in projects related to the
preservation of the environment - you are also the only leader
to my knowledge, to cut your baguette in the olive trees
of Provence! - and you have made a strong commitment to the defence of
Ambassador to the United Nations for the
Programme to Combat Drugs, you receive from UNESCO the title
“Man of the Year” in 1995, before becoming Goodwill Ambassador
for UNICEF. Not content to be a recognized, admired, a leader who
we ask and even that we fight, you have so much to
transmit. According to you, there are three stages in the life of each
man: first childhood and study, then comes the time of work and
the transmission of knowledge - how to restore this
given to others, as a gift, the impression left by a
life of meditation and humanism.
For all these reasons, but also because your relationship with France
is a love story, dear Myung-Whun Chung, in the name of the
French Republic, we present you the insignia of Commander
in the order of Arts and Letters.
Dear Ismail Serageldin,
On 28 May I paid tribute to the dialogue of languages and
between France and the Arab world, where, for reasons of
calendar, you unfortunately could not join. I am very
happy that we can finally meet again today.
The contradictions of our time bring dangers and promises.
The plural affirmation of identities and the increase of freedoms
particular, the wealth of the so-called developed world on one side, the extreme
poverty and the marginalization of others, all of these tensions
identities that can be deadly, to echo the title
Suggestive of a famous work by Amin Maalouf. To these tensions, you have
All your life, a commitment to the dissemination of knowledge.
The pursuit of freedom on several fronts at once, you have done so
a life line. It is available in several areas:
architecture, economics, sociology, literature. Your great
scholarship, dear Ismail Serageldin, allows you to instruct the debate in
each of these disciplines, even if your modesty prevents you from
And that’s the great thing. The nature of the answers
that you propose is in accordance with your commitment, your
humanism in the sense that Hannah Arendt understands it. This philosophy
students above the conflicts between the Institution and the Artist, it allows you
to seek freedom over specialties. This openness to
many forms of commitment, you have demonstrated since
Taking up speed, today’s global mobilizations are often
subject to the laws of emergency alone. Essential to help
victims, but insufficient in the long term. A sustainable perspective
demands both profound and comprehensive reforms. This is what
demonstrate your tireless efforts to ensure that Science and Culture
find their full social resonances. In all the
areas, from the global issues of production and
redistribution of resources, development or research, the
struggle you lead takes place on the ground of transformation and
the transmission of knowledge.
Too many people still suffer from hunger because of policies that
you point out the unsuitable character. Indignation grows when we know that
scientific knowledge that could help the underprivileged, or
majority of humanity, already exists. To know this, is to refuse to yield
calamity. Your diagnosis is without appeal: it is up to us to become, according to
your own words, the “new abolitionists”. Mobilizing knowledge
to challenge poverty, strengthen science for development,
here, in short, is the credo of the graduate engineer of the University of Cairo and
of Harvard Doctor, the one you masterfully declined this
in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement, in
Collège de France, where you hold the Chair «Savoirs contre
A conference cycle that focused on key issues
global issues: food issues, human rights, new
faces of responsibility, scientific production, global access
to information – so many themes on which you advocate, reading them again
transversally, an action reflected on the transformations
in accordance with the universal values of justice, freedom and
human dignity and sustainable development. One can only be struck
here by the many points of agreement with the thought of Amartya Sen, for
and the ideas defended by the Organization of Nations
United for Education, Science and Culture, which France has the honor
host. The Nobel Prize winners who massively supported your candidacy
In 1999, the UNESCO Directorate-General made no mistake.
As a scientist, you invent the future by seeking its possibilities
of expression. Both in the exercise of science and in the
freedom through democracy. As a good economist, you never lose
the effectiveness of the means of its realization. It is this ability to marry
the viewing angles that allow you to avoid the pitfalls of a normativity
too abstract, the one that so often prevents us from thinking and acting
otherwise for the good of our common humanity.
This optimism is driven today by the resurrected hopes of the
Library of Alexandria. This millennial institution, several times
was the first large public reading space, where more than 700,000
volumes were listed, unfortunately disappeared in the
destruction and fires. It is no coincidence that it is precisely in
the mission to recover from the rubble of history
this old Library. As the enterprise was to be accomplished at once
with the idea of the universal knowledge she claims, but also with the
instruments of the third millennium. After holding positions among
the most prestigious of the World Bank, of which you are vice-president,
you have set about this Promethean task: to resurrect the dream of
the great sharing of knowledge, a dream that had once animated
Zenodot of Ephesus, Aristophane of Byzantium or Érathostène.
From this Antiquity where the Bibliotheca Alexandrina radiated on the whole
of the Mediterranean basin, you have kept the concern of accessibility
by harnessing new technologies and
digital platforms, which now allow knowledge to be produced
and spread far beyond the shelves. You have created an institution
independent, sheltered from censorship, which combines in a unique building the
tools of the third millennium with reading spaces where we still know
preserve the time of impregnation in the face of assaults of immediacy and
access vertigo. An institution with a universal vocation where the
multilingualism is king, and who benefits from the most
world’s prestigious libraries, including the National Library of
You are convinced that the digitization of knowledge constitutes the
great service that we can bring to this century”. This conviction, my
sharing it fully, as it is the condition of possibility
knowledge economy and a knowledge society, as it is
also one of the keys to the democratization of culture. This dream of a
universal library accessible to all, Jean-Noël Jeanneney and
today Bruno Racine have made their spearhead at the head of the
National Library of France. It is the dream of all those who take
the measurement of what the digital can bring to our greatest good
the freedom to know.
From the ancient manuscript to today’s tablets, the idea of a culture of
knowledge-based peace has never been a utopia. It is the
political project of all those who through the centuries have understood, for
that “some dreams have no time”. To
all these reasons, dear Ismail Serageldin, on behalf of the Republic
French, we give you the insignia of Commander in order
of Arts and Letters.
Dear Evgeny Kissin,
I will start by reading 4 lines from a small tragedy of
Pushkin, Mozart and Salieri, whom I imagine you saying very well - I
know that you love to recite - and that include two
ideas dear to you, I want to speak of creation and love. The
here, in a passage where Mozart and Salieri devisent just before this
last one poisons the first:
SALIERI. - […] Beaumarchais often told me, “Listen to my old man.
Salieri, when dark thoughts come to you, open a bottle of
champagne, or reread Figaro’s wedding.
MOZART. - Ah! yes, it’s true that Beaumarchais was your friend. It’s for
he wrote your ‘Tartar’, a beautiful thing… It’s there
a motive... I hum it constantly when I feel happy (…) To
Salieri, is it true that Beaumarchais had poisoned
SALIERI. 'I don’t think so; he was too jovial for such a job.
MOZART. - And he’s a genius, like you, like me. And the genius and
The crime: two incompatible things, isn’t it?
It is a great honour for me to welcome you today. Rare
are those who coexist the depth of heart and musical genius at a
such a level of elevation. A miraculous gift for music, certainly, but this
is not this gift that makes you one of the greatest interpreters of the XXth
and the 21st century, of the so precious and singular species of the Horowitz,
Michelangeli, Gould, Richter or Pogorelic. Unconditionally dedicated to the
music, you live with the piano in harmonious spheres where
the instrument is made both human voice and orchestra in a thousand colors,
in a rich game that has earned you international recognition.
By means of an infallible piano technique, you have become a
volcanic and luminous performer, voluntary and deep; artist possessed
with a burning body, crazy hair, burning hands
keys. The emotion in your game is never easy. The notes get
conquer. You make the legatos dance, you impose the cadences
that seem inevitable to you, you tell stories where subtlety and
nuance are queens. When you perform the Concertos at 12
for piano 1 and 2 by Frédéric Chopin under the direction of Dmitri Kitaenko,
Martha Argerich marvels at the depth and maturity in the
musical discourse of the young boy that you are then; you will not cease
to affirm that «music itself is enough», that there is no need
experience to properly interpret a piece, which the music already contains
all in substance. You have never been a young prodigy: child, you
were already a mature musician.
Evgeny Kissin is the one who upsets with tears Herbert von Karajan
in the city of Mozart in 1988, performing the Fantasy in F minor
of Chopin. And you are still one of the best interpreters
romantic repertoire, Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms
and of course Chopin for whom you feel an affection, a bond
heart. You are in the same way as Ivo Pogorelic a
Outstanding performer of the Paintings of an exhibition of Mussorgsky,
a work that you interpret with contrast, theatricality and coherence,
with a fineness of touch, clarity of articulation and sometimes
staccati - I am thinking in particular of the Tuileries painting, which
all your listeners. You have the gift of telling us
stories with sometimes fragile, ethereal sounds, sometimes released
catacombs, never hollow, never expected.
You are not afraid to extend your repertoire to classicism, to
late romanticism, to composers with atypical personalities like
Scriabin or Medtner - what works for you, since you get the
Grammy Award for best soloist in 2002 and 2006
recordings. Same award last year for your
recordings of concertos numbers 2 and 3 of Prokofiev under the
direction of Vladimir Ashkenazy. I could not quote all the
awards that will make your career as a soloist. However, I must
to mention a woman without whom you might not have become
the great pianist I have with me, I mean your teacher,
your friend, Anna Pavlovna Kantor.
Thanks to his teaching, thanks to your work, you played with the
best contemporary conductors: Abbado, Barenboim, Levine,
Svetlanov, Ozawa, Giulini or Temirkanov, among others. In 1990 you
produce for the first time at the BBC Proms in London, one
major classical music festivals, as well as in the United States where
under the direction of Zubin Mehta, you perform the two concertos for
Chopin’s piano that gave birth to your legend. That same year, you
also open the 100th season of Carnegie Hall with a
In you, dear Evgeny Kissin, there is the legend of the Russian pianist
reality. Listening to you one cannot fail to think of Chekhov, the
Shakespearean Pushkin, Gogol or Tolstoy. Bach, the composer that
you put on top of everybody else, said, I’ve worked a lot.
Anyone who works like me can do what I did.” It’s at
name of this work and this impossible quest for emotion and
perfection that I am blessed to honor your art.
Dear Evgeny Kissin, on behalf of the French Republic,
Let’s present the Officer insignia in the Order of Arts and Letters.