Massive Picasso at New York's Four Seasons to move to a museum

NEW YORK Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:35pm EDT

A 19-by-20-foot theater curtain ''Le Tricorne'' painted by Pablo Picasso hangs at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, April 1, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Mike Segar

A 19-by-20-foot theater curtain ''Le Tricorne'' painted by Pablo Picasso hangs at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, April 1, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A massive Pablo Picasso theater curtain that has graced the hallway of New York City's landmark Four Seasons Restaurant for more than 50 years will be moved to a museum, the artwork's owner said Thursday.

"Le Tricorne," a 19-foot (5.8-meter) tall canvas completed in 1919 for the Ballet Russes, will find a new home at the New York Historical Society in coming months, said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

A staple of the Four Season's decor since 1959, "Le Tricorne" was at risk of losing its display space after the owner of Seagram Building, in which the restaurant is located, said the artwork could no longer be accommodated.

"We are deeply grateful to the New York Historical for having stepped forward to help safeguard this cultural treasure," Breen said. "Our goal was to keep it in New York and keep it in a public place."

The piece was donated to the Landmarks Conservancy in 2005 by French entertainment company Vivendi Universal.

The fate of the artwork had even made its way to court, with Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen arguing the canvas could no longer keep its prominent position greeting rich and powerful diners because the wall behind it was crumbling.

With the offer from the New York Historical Society to house and display the curtain, Rosen has agreed to pay for removing the curtain, conservation work and relocation, Breen said.

"It's going to be a complicated and tricky move," she said.

The artwork is expected to be in place on the second story of the Historical Society in coming months.

"Le Tricorne" depicts a crowd watching a bullfight and was one part of a larger curtain that hung over a Paris ballet production by the same name.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Eric Beech)

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