Canada’s first-ever survey of Picasso’s influential Blue Period brings more than 100 artworks from 15 countries to Toronto this fall, AGO Members and Annual Passholders see it first
TORONTO — The wait is nearly over! This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents a major exhibition on Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period (1901-1904). Combining art historical research, cutting-edge conservation science and sublime works of art, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is the first exhibition in Canada to focus on the modernist master’s early years. Opening on Oct. 6, 2021, and featuring more than 100 objects from 15 countries, the exhibition is co-organized by the AGO and The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC with the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris.
ONSALE AND OPENING DATES
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, which include access to the AGO Collection, are $25 per person.
AGO Members and Annual Passholders get the very first opportunities to see Picasso: Painting the Blue Period.
The exhibition opens to AGO Members on Oct. 6, and Members may book tickets as of today, Sept. 14.
AGO Annual Passholders are eligible to join Members to see it on Oct. 9, and may book tickets starting tomorrow, Sept. 15.
Individuals purchasing single admission tickets may visit the exhibition starting on Oct. 26, and tickets are available starting tomorrow, Sept. 15.
The acclaimed exhibition Andy Warhol, on now at the AGO, runs to October 24. Members and Annual Passholders may access both exhibitions for free during the period of overlap. Single ticket visitors must wait until after Andy Warhol has closed before they can visit Picasso: Painting the Blue Period.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is curated by Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s Associate Curator of Modern Art, and Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, Curator at The Phillips Collection.
This landmark exhibition concentrates on the years 1901-1904, telling 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. Revealing how the young artist borrowed from and transformed the subject matter and motifs of his contemporaries and predecessors during these critical years, 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 AGO 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.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Advance purchase or reservation of a timed ticket is required for all entry to the AGO, including General Admission. A limited number of tickets is available for each 15-minute timeslot in order to help control the flow of visitors.
The AGO takes safety seriously and strictly adheres to all public health regulations. Rigorous health and safety protocols are in place including capacity restrictions, entry screening and timed-entry ticketing. 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. Although Members and Annual Passholders are welcome to see both Andy Warhol and Picasso: Painting the Blue Period in one visit, to ensure capacity limits are maintained, visitors will need to book separate timed-entry tickets for each exhibition.
TALKS, COURSES AND EVENTS
Programming highlights for Picasso: Painting the Blue Period are below. For more information about these and other online events, visit ago.ca/events.
- The AGO hosts a timely conversation on Women, Feminism and Picasso this fall, featuring Ilene Sova, the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Drawing at OCAD University and others. More details about this free Zoom talk to come. Visit www.ago.ca/events for updates.
- Hear contemporary artists discuss the legacy of Picasso this fall, as part of the free Zoom conversation Why Picasso? Artists Respond. More details about this free Zoom talk to come. Visit www.ago.ca/events for updates.
- Join Kenneth Brummel, AGO Associate Curator of modern art and curator of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period, for a free Zoom talk on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., exploring Picasso’s Blue Period, one of the most celebrated episodes of the artist’s career and of 20th-century modernism. This talk will be accompanied by live ASL interpretation. Visit www.ago.ca/events for more details in the weeks ahead.
- Hear from two of North America’s leading conservation scientists on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. when Sandra Webster-Cook, AGO Conservator Emerita, joins John K. Delaney, Senior Imaging Scientist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, for Picasso: Scanners and Secrets, a free Zoom talk. Visit www.ago.ca/events for more details in the weeks ahead.
- The AGO’s monthly series of downloadable colouring cards, each one a line drawing inspired by an artwork in the AGO Collection, salutes Picasso this October with a new DIY masterpiece inspired by The Soup (1903). To download this and other colouring cards in the series, visit ago.ca/learn/learning-resources/everyone.
- For adult painters of all abilities comes Online Painting Explorations: Inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period, a four-week virtual instructional course designed to introduce students to Picasso’s colour palette, its history, alchemy and emotive possibilities. Sessions begin Oct. 14, Nov. 10 and Nov. 13. To register and for more details, visit ago.ca/learn/courses/online-painting-explorations-inspired-picassos-blue-period.
- The AGO’s popular free Wednesday night Pop-Up Studio pays tribute to Picasso this fall. Open to all ages and abilities, this free drop-in, 30-minute virtual studio class begins Oct. at 13 at 6 p.m. and runs weekly through Nov. 3. Over Zoom, AGO art educator Amy Wong will consider select works and techniques from the exhibition Picasso: Painting the Blue Period. The perfect after-work activity, for more details about each session, recommended materials and to register, visit ago.ca/events.
- BlindSquare powered audio guides at the AGO return for Picasso: Painting the Blue Period. The Gallery is the first art museum in Canada to use this GPS-based navigation app to deliver audio instructions to your smartphone. The system will be used in the exhibition to help guests who are blind or partially sighted with wayfinding and content sharing of exhibition pieces. Visitors can access the app from their phones by scanning a high contrast QR code located at the entrance to the exhibition.
- Picasso: Painting the Blue Period will feature a Visual Audio Description tour of four artworks in the exhibition including Women with bangs (1902) and Still life with flowers (1906). Visitors can access the self-guided tour from their phones by scanning high contrast QR codes located on select text panels inside the exhibition.
SHOP AND DINE
- In celebration of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period, AGO Bistro will present French and Spanish-inspired bites and cocktails this fall. Stay tuned for more details and visit ago.ca/dine/ago-bistro for updates.
- shopAGO invites visitors to take home something blue this fall. From AGO and DelMonico Books/D.A.P comes a lavishly illustrated 244 page hardcover exhibition catalogue, edited by Kenneth Brummel and Susan Behrends Frank. A selection of Picasso-inspired prints, postcards, books and gifts are also available. For more details, visit shop.ago.ca/store or explore shopAGO in person. Physical distancing and capacity measures are in place inside the shop.
@AGOToronto | #PicassoAGO
ABOUT THE AGO
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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