The president of the Musée Picasso in Paris has left her job amid controversy surrounding the continuing delays in the restoration of the museum's 17th century building. Anne Baldassari, who has led the institution since 2005, was relieved of her position Tuesday by France's ministry of culture.
With a price tag estimated at more than $70 million, the restoration of the museum building in the Marais district of Paris has experienced a series of delays and setbacks. The building was recently expected to reopen in June, but officials have stated that the museum is now expected to be open in September.
The postponement provoked an angry reaction this month from Claude Picasso, son of the famed artist. The younger Picasso told the French newspaper Le Figaro that he was "outraged" and "profoundly concerned" about the delays.
In a release sent on Tuesday, France's ministry of culture stated that the museum will be led on an interim basis by Jérôme Bouet, who is the country's inspector general of cultural affairs. A new president is expected to be named later.
The ministry said that Baldassari's tenure as president of the museum was concluded in order to ensure the success of the renovation project. It cited a working environment at the museum that was "anxiety-provoking" and said that a number of resignations within the museum was threatening its re-opening.
It said Baldassari was offered another post within the museum, though it remains unclear if she has accepted it.
Baldassari is a Picasso expert who has served in various functions at the museum for more than two decades. She has held posts at some of France's top art institutions and is widely respected by her peers around the world.
But her tenure as the head of the Picasso museum was rocked by criticism in recent months. A faction of dissatisfied employees recently released a letter complaining about her leadership and a spirit of "institutional sickness" that they believe has taken over the museum, according to reports in the French media. Baldassari subsequently denounced the statement.