Picasso: Painting the Blue Period captivates with art and science this holiday season at the AGO

Five floors and extended hours make the AGO a safe solace this holiday season! Museum open Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, as well as Monday, Dec. 27

TORONTO — A landmark exhibition, the first in Canada to focus on Picasso’s early years, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period continues to dazzle audiences at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). On view until Jan. 16, 2021, the Gallery is extending its hours during the holidays to give visitors an even safer art experience.  All four floors of the AGO are currently open for crowd free browsing, capacity limits are in effect and visitors are invited to explore Picasso: Painting the Blue Period and other great exhibitions including Fragments of Epic Memory, Matthew Wong: Blue View and Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful.

The health and safety of the AGO’s visitors, employees and volunteers remains the museum’s top priority. Equipped with a state of the art HVAC system, the museum also recently installed UV sanitizing lighting and all employees are required to be fully vaccinated. All visitors over the age of 12 are required to show proof of vaccination and ID upon entry, timed-entry ticketing is in effect and masking is required throughout the museum. For a complete list of health and safety measures, visitors are encouraged to visit the reopening web page and to self-assess before visiting.

Combining art historical research and cutting-edge conservation science, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period brings together more than 90 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Picasso along with works by French and Spanish artists to provide new insight into the famed artist’s creative process and intellectual development during his formative years. Curated by Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s Associate Curator of Modern Art, and Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, Curator at The Phillips Collection, the exhibition includes video documentation of groundbreaking technical studies undertaken on the three Blue Period masterpieces in the collections of the two co-organizing institutions: The Blue Room (Paris, 1901) from The Phillips Collection, and Crouching Beggarwomen (Barcelona, 1902) and The Soup (Barcelona, 1903) from the Art Gallery of Ontario. The scientific research on the AGO’s paintings was led by Sandra Webster-Cook, Conservator Emerita.

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is the product of seven years of collaborative, cross-disciplinary research,” says AGO associate curator of modern art Kenneth Brummel.  “We are so proud to organize this exhibition in Toronto, as it is the first to offer a narrative of Picasso’s artistic development during these critical years using art history and conservation science. Charting Picasso’s evolving and sometimes controversial approach to issues of sex, class, poverty, despair, charity and female incarceration during the Blue Period, the exhibition also invites visitors to see how Picasso revisited and repurposed these themes and motifs in later works from his important Rose Period (1904-1906).”

Admission to Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is free for all visitors 25 and under, AGO Members and holders of the $35 Annual Pass. Single tickets are $25 per person and include access to the AGO Collection and the ongoing special exhibitions Fragments of Epic Memory, Matthew Wong: Blue View and Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful.

Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the AGO will open on Boxing Day, Sunday, Dec. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will also open on Monday, Dec. 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Picasso: Painting the Blue Period will remain open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28, Wednesday, Dec. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 30.

The Gallery will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular Gallery hours will resume as of Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022.  For more information about hours of operation, current exhibitions and to book your timed-entry tickets, visit www.ago.ca/.

The AGO takes safety seriously and strictly adheres to all public health regulations. All visitors aged 12 and over are required to provide proof of vaccination and ID upon entry and masks must be worn at all times inside. Advance purchase or reservation of a timed ticket is required to visit the AGO, including General Admission and Free Wednesday evenings. A limited number of tickets is available for each 15-minute timeslot in order to help control the flow of visitors.

Visitors are encouraged to visit and review the reopening web page for more information and helpful FAQs, and to self-assess before visiting the Gallery.

In celebration of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period, AGO Bistro presents a uniquely French and Spanish-inspired $45 prix-fixe dinner menu on Dec. 28, Dec. 29 and Dec. 30. Last seating is 8 p.m.

AGO Bistro is taking reservations now for it’s famed New Year’s Day Brunch, happening on Saturday Jan. 1, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning Dec. 26, 2021 and running through Jan. 2, AGO Bistro presents pre-fixe brunch menus for children and adults. For more details, including hours of operations and menus, visit ago.ca/dine/ago-bistro.

shopAGO invites you to take home something blue this holiday season! From AGO and DelMonico Books comes the lavishly illustrated 244 page hardcover exhibition catalogue Picasso: Painting the Blue Period, edited by Kenneth Brummel and Susan Behrends Frank. A selection of Picasso prints, postcards, books and gifts are also available. Shop online or explore in person. shopAGO will remain open on Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24 for last minute gifting from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Proof of vaccination and ID required for all visitors 12 and up.

Picasso supporter recognition

@AGOToronto | #PicassoAGO  

Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. In 2019, the AGO launched a bold new initiative designed to make the museum even more welcoming and accessible with the introduction of free admission for anyone 25 years and under and a $35 annual pass. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.


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