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Picasso and Chicago

Pablo Picasso.

Pablo Picasso. "The Red Armchair", 1931 - Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Saidenberg. © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to present a major exhibition that will celebrate its exceptional holdings of works by artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). Over 250 of the finest examples of the Art Institute’s extraordinary collection of Picasso’s paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings will be on display. The exhibition will coincide with the centennial of the Armory Show at the Art Institute, the first major exhibition of avant-garde European art presented in the United States and the first time Picasso’s works were displayed in an American museum. The exhibition will be the first major Picasso exhibition organized by the Art Institute in almost 30 years.

The museum began its collection of works by Picasso in the early 1920s with two figural drawings (Seated Male Nude and Sketches of a Young Woman and a Man, 1905 and 1904/05, respectively), and in 1926 welcomed Old Guitarist (late 1903–early 1904) as a generous gift of Frederic Clay and Helen Birch Bartlett. Over time, the collection has expanded to include paintings such as the classically inspired Mother and Child (1921) as well as landmark sculptures including the cubist Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909). In addition, the museum boasts an exceptional collection of works on paper that include the monumental Woman Washing Her Feet (1944) and impressions of his most iconic works such as The Frugal Meal (1904), one of only three examples of the famous Blue Period etching actually printed in blue ink. The exhibition will provide viewers a rare opportunity to chart Picasso’s wide-ranging interests and explorations.
The presentation will not only survey Picasso’s extensive material experimentations, but also 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, the monumental personages from his post–World War II production, and his specific contributions to the city of Chicago. Special presentations on the themes and influences of the artist will be showcased throughout the museum’s encyclopedic collection, allowing visitors to explore the broad and enduring impact of the eminent artist.