Spain’s great artists are associated with cities: Velazquez and Madrid, Dali and Barcelona, El Greco and Toldeo, Picasso and Chicago. Wait, what?
That’s right, the 20th century’s number one artist is linked to the Second City as noted in Picasso and Chicago, the Art Institute’s new exhibition that documents the development of Picasso's career alongside the growth of Chicago.
Representing Picasso’s innovations in nearly every media—including paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics—the show examines Chicago’s interest in and support for the artist since the historically-important Armory Show of 1913.
Possessing nearly 400 of the artist’s works including the Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture (1964-67), the Art Institute was one of the first museums to recognize the brilliance of Picasso—starting its 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).
The Art Institute expanded its collection in 1926 when Picasso's signature Blue Period painting The Old Guitarist (late 1903-early 1904) was given as a part of a gift in memory of Helen Birch Bartlett. The collection also features The Frugal Meal (1904), one of only three print examples from the Blue Period. Over the following decades, Picasso’s classically-inspired Mother and Child (1921) and surrealist Red Armchair (1931) were added as well as his sculptures Head of a Woman (1909) and Figure (1935).
The highlight of Picasso and Chicago are the drawings. Rarely on view due to their fragility, these works on paper—including the Minotaur (1933) and Woman Washing Her Feet (1944)—offer insight into the prolific artist’s talent.
On view through May 12, 2013 in the museum’s Regenstein Hall, Picasso and Chicago features more than 250 works selected from the Art Institute’s own holdings and from private collections throughout Chicago. For more information, visit www.artic.edu.