Monday, March 18, 2013

Picasso and Chicago

First Large-Scale Picasso Exhibition Presented by the Art Institute in 30 Years Commemorates Centennial Anniversary of the Armory Show Picasso and Chicago on View Exclusively at the Art Institute February 20–May 12, 2013

This winter, the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates the unique relationship between Chicago and one of the preeminent artists of the 20th century—Pablo Picasso—with special presentations, singular paintings on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and programs throughout the museum befitting the artist’s unparalleled range and influence. The centerpiece of this celebration is the major exhibition Picasso and Chicago, on view from February 20 through May 12, 2013 in the Art Institute’s Regenstein Hall, which features more than 250 works selected from the museum’s own exceptional holdings and from private collections throughout Chicago. Representing Picasso’s innovations in nearly every media—paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics—the works not only tell the story of Picasso’s artistic development but also the city’s great interest in and support for the artist since the Armory Show of 1913, a signal event in the history of modern art.

The 1913 Armory Show showcased the works of the most radical European artists of the day alongside their progressive American contemporaries and forever changed the artistic landscape for artists, collectors, critics, and cultural institutions in the United States. Unlike the other venues for the Armory Show in New York and Boston, which were private institutions, the Art Institute enjoys the distinction of being the only art museum to host the exhibition and as such, has the privilege of being the first in the United States to present the works of such artists as Constantin BrĂ¢ncusi, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, and Picasso to the public. Indeed, Chicago’s interest in Picasso’s art would grow over the years, leading to a number of important distinctions: as just one remarkable example, in 1967 the city welcomed the artist’s first monumental work of public sculpture.

Picasso and Chicago documents the development of Picasso’s career alongside the growth of Chicago collectors and cultural institutions, emphasizing the storied moments of overlap that have contributed not only to the vibrant interest in Picasso today but also to the presence of nearly 400 works by the artist in the collection of the Art Institute. The museum began its Picasso collection in the early 1920s with two figural drawings, Sketches of a Young Woman and a Man (1904) and Study of a Seated Man (1905); in 1926 the Art Institute welcomed one of Picasso’s signature Blue Period paintings,

The Old Guitarist (late 1903–early 1904), as a part of a generous gift in memory of Helen Birch Bartlett.

Over the subsequent decades, the museum’s collection has expanded to include such important paintings as the classically inspired

Mother and Child (1921)

and surrealist Red Armchair (1931),

as well as such memorable sculptures as the Cubist Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909), the playful Figure (1935), and the maquette for Picasso’s largest three-dimensional work, the Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture (1964–67).

The Art Institute has also developed an exceptional collection of works on paper that demonstrates Picasso’s endless inventiveness and masterful draftsmanship, as seen in such extraordinary examples as the turbulent Minotaur (1933) and the monumental Woman Washing Her Feet (1944).

Likewise, the print collection holds special works including The Frugal Meal (1904), one of only three examples of this familiar Blue Period etching printed in blue-green ink. Because of the fragility of the drawings and prints, these works from the museum’s collection are rarely on view, and visitors will be offered an extraordinary opportunity to see them in the context of Picasso’s career and the museum’s own collection.

The exhibition is accompanied by a handsome catalogue, Picasso and Chicago: 100 Years, 100 Works, that brings together 100 of Picasso’s finest works in Chicago. The artworks survey Picasso’s extensive material experimentations and 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. An illustrated chronology documents notable exhibitions and acquisitions in Chicago and the important role many works in the collection played in the artist’s career, as well as outlines Picasso’s varied contributions to a city that has enthusiastically collected his art for the past century. The book, written by Stephanie D’Alessandro, the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art at the Art Institute, features 106 color and nine black-and-white illustrations, and an insightful essay written by Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker. Picasso and Chicago: 100 Years, 100 Works is published by the Art Institute and distributed by Yale University Press. The book will be available beginning March 4, 2013, at the Art Institute’s Museum Shop for $24.95.

Special Loans from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

While some of the Art Institute’s iconic canvases by Picasso move from their home in the Modern Wing to the special exhibition in Regenstein Hall, the museum is thrilled to welcome two masterpieces by the artist from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Picasso’s emblematic

Self-Portrait (1906)

and his monumental Three Musicians (1921).

A third painting from Philadelphia, Old Woman with Gloves (1901), once owned by legendary Chicago collector Arthur Jerome Eddy, will be included in Picasso and Chicago in Regenstein Hall. These paintings have not been shown at the Art Institute for more than 60 years.

The Anniversary Presentation of the Armory Show

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the revolutionary Armory Show, Gallery 391 in the Modern Wing will showcase works in the museum’s modern art collection that were displayed at the original 1913 exhibition. This presentation will be complemented by a display of archival materials in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries that offers a glimpse of the artistic landscape of the museum as it was in 1913. In addition, the museum has prepared a special online exhibition focused on the Armory Show, which features photographs of the galleries, stories of the individuals who brought the exhibition to Chicago, rare documents and publications, and the often excoriating response to the exhibition in Chicago and elsewhere. The online presentation will debut in mid-February at [].