CHICAGO, Friday, February 15, 2013. So you think you know Picasso…not so fast. You may want to think again. The new exhibition, Picasso and Chicago, which opens to the general public February 20, 2013 (through May 12, 2013) at the Art Institute of Chicago paints a complete picture of Picasso, the man, and Picasso, the artist.
Sure you most likely know Picasso’s Old Guitarist, his Mother and Child, The Red Armchair, his many renderings of heads of women along with his huge sculpture that has dominated Daley Plaza since the controversial unveiling of “The Picasso” in 1967. But did you know that even though Picasso never came to America he collected Lincoln memorabilia; that he created wonderful ceramics; that he burned canvases in his early years to keep warm; that a woman’s bust was his inspiration for “The Picasso”; that the Greek wine god Dionysus influenced his work and that he used house paint for some of his paintings?
Visitors to the Picasso and Chicago show will be treated to the whole package. The main exhibition features more than 250 works selected from the museum’s exceptional holdings and from private collections throughout Chicago that represent Picasso’s innovations in nearly every media–paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics.
The show is the first large-scale Picasso exhibition to be put together by the Art Institute in 30 years. It is presented chronologically documenting the development of Picasso’s career from its early beginnings until his death in 1973 at age 91.
Picasso and Chicago is a museum-wide celebration that pays tribute to the 100-year relationship between Picasso and Chicago that begin in 1913 with the Armory Show. The Armory Show was the first time that Picasso’s work was seen in America. The Art Institute of Chicago hosted the exhibition (along with stops in New York and Boston) and was the first and only art museum to do so. The show, controversial for its time, showcased Picasso’s early works along with those of some of the most radical European artists of the day alongside their progressive American contemporaries forever changing the artistic landscape for artists, collectors, critics, and cultural institutions in the United States.
The museum selected works from over 400 in its Picasso collection which began in the early 1920s with two figural drawings, Sketches of a Young Woman and a Man (1904) and Study of a Seated Man (1905) to represent subjects that are emblematic of the artist, including the emotive individuals of his Blue and Rose periods, the faceted faces and still-life objects of his Cubist years, and the monumental personages from his post-World War II production.
Complementing Picasso and Chicago are a host of special installations throughout the museum including special loans from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a presentation of artworks shown at the 1913 Armory Show (Gallery 391) and nine focused exhibitions from various curatorial departments exploring Picasso’s wide-ranging artistic interests and influences. “Rarely have so many departments here participated in honoring a single artist” says Stephanie D’Alessandro, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art at the Art Institute and curator of the exhibition.
Be sure to leave time to view these special installations as well as the main exhibition in order to get the full picture of Picasso. The exhibit and special installations are free with museum admission.
Special Installations around the Museum.
The Artist and the Poet, Galleries 124-127. Over 100 works on paper survey the myriad ways visual artists have been inspired by or collaborated with poets in the 20th century, paying homage to Picasso’s close relationships with poets and poetry.
Picasso and African Art, Gallery 137. Comparable to works once owned by Picasso, these African artworks provide a catalyst for a consideration of Picasso’s collecting taste and the early development of an international African art market.
Picasso and American Art, Gallery 271. These specially selected works examine how Picasso’s radical artistic innovations inspired American artists in the early decades of the 20th century to rethink pictorial form and space.
Picasso and Spanish Golden-Age Painting, Galleries 206, 209, and 211. Including works by El Greco and Velázquez, this installation focuses on Picasso’s connection to Spain’s artistic past–a connection that was often political and at times personal.
Picasso and Cézanne, Gallery 246 . This presentation features works by Cézanne, whom Picasso saw as “a father for all of us.”
Picasso, Man Ray, and Les Champs Délicieux, Gallery 10 . This selection of photograms by Man Ray offers insight into the two artists’ friendship and artistic exchanges from the early 1920s, when they first met in Paris, through the next two decades.
Bacchanalia: Picasso and Ancient Greek Vases, Gallery 151. A selection of Greek vases explores the influence of the classical theme of the wine god Dionysos and his entourage on Picasso.
Public Sculpture and the Architectural Frame, Gallery 24. This exhibition investigates how architectural space has engaged with sculpture, from Beaux-Arts monuments to Picasso’s work in Daley Plaza and from other seminal works of mid-century public art to postmodern inversions of structure and décor.
The Mark of Modernism: Published Picasso, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries Books of classic literature, collections of surrealist poetry, and art journals reveal Picasso’s prolific work as both a collaborator and creator of illustrated books, magazines, and other ephemera.
Selected Programs Related to Picasso and Chicago.
Lecture: Adam Gopnik: Picasso Not in America Thursday, February 21, 6p.m., Rubloff Auditorium . Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, offers his insights on Picasso.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Select Thursdays, 6p.m. in Griffin Court . What is Blue? March 21: Why Cubism? April 18: When Classics Come Again. May 9: Unavoidable Impact Dancers from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago explore Picasso’s oeuvre with four different inspired programs.
Film Screening: The Mystery of Picasso. Wednesday, March 6, 12p.m., Fullerton Hall. See Picasso at work in this 1956 French documentary by Henri-George Clouzot.
Lecture: The 1913 Armory Show and Chicago Collectors. Thursday, March 28, 6p.m., Fullerton Hall . Vivian Barnett, independent scholar, discusses the groundbreaking exhibition and its impact on the city.
Symposium: Picasso and Chicago. Friday, April 19, 10:30 a.m., Fullerton Hall. Michael FitzGerald, Trinity College; Janine Mileaf, Arts Club of Chicago; and Diana Widmaier Picasso, art historian, explore three major historical moments: the 1913 Armory Show, the 1923 Arts Club of Chicago exhibition (Picasso’s first solo exhibition outside a gallery), and his 1967 sculpture in Daley Plaza.