A landmark celebration, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is the first exhibition in Canada to focus on the early works of the modernist master Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973).
Concentrating on the years 1901-1904, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period tells the story of how Picasso, then a fledgling painter in his late teens and early twenties, formulated his signature Blue Period style as he moved back and forth between the cities of Paris and Barcelona. The exhibition will reveal how the young artist borrowed from and transformed the subject matter and motifs of his contemporaries and predecessors during these critical years. Importantly, the exhibition will also show how Picasso’s multi-layered responses to the social and political events around him resulted in spellbinding works that to this day force audiences to grapple with uncomfortable issues such as poverty, labor unrest, gender inequality and war.
At the heart of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is new scientific and art historical research undertaken by the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Phillips Collection on the three Blue Period paintings in their respective collections: The Blue Room (Paris, 1901; The Phillips Collection), Crouching Beggarwoman (Barcelona, 1902; Art Gallery of Ontario), and The Soup (Barcelona, 1903; Art Gallery of Ontario). Laboratories dedicated to conservation science provide audiences the opportunity to explore the underlying layers of these three Blue Period canvases. In the final gallery of the exhibition audiences will see how these three Blue Period paintings informed Picasso’s artistic experiments during his important Rose Period of 1904-1907.
Picasso: Painting the Blue Period will feature more than 100 objects from 15 countries, including paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Picasso as well as works by artists the young Spaniard is known to have studied before and during the Blue Period. Curated by Kenneth Brummel and Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC with the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris.