Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National
Picasso, Paris
Opens May 1 at the AGO

Exhibition offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see “Picasso’s Picassos” in Canada

(TORONTO – April 25, 2012) Marking the only Canadian stop on its world tour, the highly anticipated exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on May 1, 2012. Tickets are now on sale.

The Musée National Picasso, Paris has been temporarily closed this season for renovations, sending its treasures out on a rare world tour. “We at the AGO are proud to be the only Canadian institution to present this truly unparalleled exhibition,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO director and CEO. “Picasso’s artistry was constantly evolving, and this particular collection offers our members and visitors a rare opportunity to experience the entire trajectory of his artistic achievement.”

Exhibited chronologically and covering virtually every phase of the modern master’s unceasingly radical and diverse career, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris features 147 of the works he kept for himself and his family, dubbing the term “Picasso’s Picassos”:

• The Death of Casagemas (1901), one of the first works he created in Paris;
• a landmark African-inspired artwork that led to the advent of Cubism, including studies for the masterpiece The Young Ladies of Avignon (1907) and Three Figures Beneath a Tree (1907-08);
• a series of sculptures created during the Second World War, including Bull’s Head (1942) and two bronzes, Death’s Head (1943) and The Goat (1950);
• The Matador (1970), the famous self-portrait painted three years before his death.

“Picasso is a true artistic legend whose profound work revolutionized fine art, captivating audiences across borders and beyond time,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The McGuinty Government is proud to partner with the AGO to bring this exciting exhibit to Ontario for its only Canadian stop, ensuring Ontarians and visitors alike have an opportunity to explore and experience Picasso’s prolific work.”

Co-organized by the Musée National Picasso, Paris, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, the exhibition is curated by Anne Baldassari, chairman and chief curator of collections of the Musée National Picasso, Paris. Elizabeth Smith, the AGO’s executive director of curatorial affairs, will oversee the exhibition’s installation at the AGO.
An exhibition for all ages, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris features a special audio tour created just for children. Opening simultaneously with the exhibition, the new Family Creativity Lounge in the Margaret & Jim Fleck Gallery will provide visitors of all ages a space to stop, rest and have fun, engaging with art-making and ideas in a relaxed atmosphere. It will feature comfortable seating, books and a large table with drawing and other art-making activities.

 Timed-entry tickets can be booked online by visiting Regular-priced tickets range from $16.50 for youth visitors to $25 for adults. Admission is FREE for AGO Members and for children ages 5 and under.

A wide range of programming and events create a full exhibition experience for visitors who attend Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris. A recent addition to the line-up includes a lecture by renowned art historian Diana Widmaier-Picasso, granddaughter of the artist. The talk will take place at the AGO on Wednesday, May 23 at
7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale soon. For more information on events and programs, and to book tickets online, visit

LEAD SPONSOR: BMO Financial Group


OFFICIAL HOTEL PARTNER: Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. For more than 194 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment, and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2011, BMO contributed more than $66.4 million in donations, sponsorships and events in Canada and the United States to groups, organizations and programs that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

Air Canada is Canada’s largest full-service airline and the largest provider of scheduled passenger services in the Canadian market, the Canada-U.S. trans-border market and in the international market to and from Canada. In 2011, Air Canada, together with its Air Canada Express regional partners carried, more than 33 million passengers, offering direct passenger service to more than 180 destinations on five continents. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance™, providing the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network.

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions  Indemnification Program / Avec l’appui du ministère du Patrimoine canadien par le biais du Programme d’Indemnisation pour les exposition itinérants au Canada.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that, in 2008, resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

May 1, 2012: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

October 20, 2012: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport . Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For more images, interviews and more information, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Meagan Campbell; News Officer, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 372,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,

Share and Enjoy: