Picasso exhibition, Torontonians will be given a deeply personal glimpse into the life of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” features 147 works from the artist’s personal collection, dubbed “Picasso’s Picassos.”

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AGO exhibit offers glimpse of the private Picasso


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When the doors open tomorrow at the AGO’s Picasso exhibition, Torontonians will be given a deeply personal glimpse into the life of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists.

“Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” features 147 works from the artist’s personal collection, dubbed “Picasso’s Picassos.” His works were always very personal, and those on show include paintings, sculptures and sketches of his lovers, children and friends. They cover almost his entire life, from his time as a young artist in Spain to his death in 1973 in France. 

Among the pieces on display are The Death of Casagemas, one of the first works Picasso created in Paris in 1901; studies for his masterpiece, The Young Ladies of Avignon; and The Matador, a self-portrait he painted three years before his death.

“The exhibit came about through a conversation with the AGO’s director, Matthew Teitelbaum and the curator at the Musée National Picasso, Anne Baldessari.” says AGO’s executive director of curatorial, Elizabeth Smith. “Their museum is under construction so in the meantime the collection is touring the world. We’re the only Canadian stop.”

The entire exhibit is inspired by Picasso’s famous phrase, “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.” The show has been given an unprecedented eight rooms, each dedicated to a different period in the artist’s life. A special section of the exhibit has been reserved for an encore presentation of “Picasso & Man,“ which was the artist’s first exhibit at the AGO back in 1964. Picasso was one of the few great artists whose work gained significant popularity while they were still alive, and that show was very popular.

“I think people will be struck by the range of his work and how he managed to simultaneously use different styles,” says Smith. Picasso, the father of cubism, experimented with different techniques over the course of his career, and allowed himself to be influenced by artists such as Manet and Cézanne before him.

Alongside the exhibition, the AGO is holding a number of events, including a talk on May 23 by art historian Diana Widmaier-Picasso, who is Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter.

Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648. To August 26.

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