The Hong Kong government is putting up HK$7 million to fund the most comprehensive showcase of Picasso's work ever seen in the city - and will also be stepping up security around the exhibit.
The two-month exhibition of artworks worth HK$6.7 billion from a French museum devoted to the Spanish master was announced this week, and it was revealed yesterday that the show would form part of the annual Le French May festival.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department is jointly presenting the Picasso exhibit with the French consulate, organiser of Le French May.
The value of the exhibition, at the Heritage Museum in Sha Tin, makes security a top priority.
'In view of the high value of the exhibits, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum will step up the security arrangements and strengthen the security force for the Picasso exhibition,' a department spokesman said. 'The museum has had discussions with relevant parties as well as the security expert from the French government in this regard.'
The HK$7 million will cover the loan fee, and the department will provide the venue and ticketing support. An insurance bill of about HK$20 million is largely being paid by private sponsors.
The exhibition will feature 60 paintings and sculptures as well as photographs by and about the modern art master.
The Picasso exhibition runs from May 19 to July 22 and admission will be HK$20. It is just part of the 20th Le French May event, full details of which were announced yesterday.
The ambitious two-month programme includes a first public performance in Asia by a singer who has topped the charts for three decades, the styles of Yves Saint Laurent and monumental pieces of artwork on show to the public.
Jacques Weber, a veteran of stage and screen, will perform his show Brightness of Life at the Drama Theatre on June 12, 13 and 14, on his first visit to Hong Kong. Chart topper Gerard Lenorman performs at the Cultural Centre on June 10. He has been a favourite in the French-speaking world since his debut album in 1969, but has never played to the public in Hong Kong or anywhere else in Asia.
The festival will also feature sculptures by contemporary French artists Nathalie Decoster and Bernar Venet.
Venet returns to Hong Kong for the first time since 1995 with seven sculptures - including two shown at the Palace of Versailles last year. They will be displayed, from April 29 to May 21, at the Cultural Centre and the piazza of the Museum of Art.
Fashion fans can look forward to seeing a private collection of Yves Saint Laurent designs at City Hall, from May 19 to June 11.
Other highlights include French opera Carmen, presented by Opera Hong Kong and starring a French cast, as well as the Zingaro company's Le Centaure et l'Animal, a conceptual dance show.
The festival, featuring about 50 performances, 20 exhibitions and 50 movie screenings, is organised by the French consulate and by the Alliance Francaise and will run from April 12 to June 24.