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Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National
Picasso, Paris
Celebrated with Special Programming

Full exhibition experience includes kid-friendly features, lectures, dining packages, Paella Nights and a look back at the AGO’s past

(TORONTO – March 28, 2012) See the world through the eyes of a genius! Tickets go on sale this weekend for the Art Gallery of Ontario’s highly anticipated Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris nearly 50 years after the AGO’s last blockbuster presentation of Picasso’s works.

“The Musée National Picasso, Paris, is a living legacy to one of the most influential and radical figures of modern art. Its collection is made up of the works the artist kept for himself and his family, making this exhibition of the collection’s masterpieces a rare glimpse of ‘Picasso’s Picassos,’” says Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO director and CEO. The monumental exhibition makes the only Canadian stop on its world tour to bring 147 highlights from the Musée’s collection to Toronto, from May 1 to Aug. 26, 2012.

“Pablo Picasso was a versatile and forward-thinking artist, and BMO Financial Group is proud to be the Lead Sponsor of this exhibition,” says Gilles Ouellette, president and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group. “As a corporate partner, we are pleased to join in the celebration of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century.”


Timed-entry tickets to this family-friendly exhibition go on sale on March 31. 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. Tickets can be booked online by visiting

Family-Friendly Features

An exhibition for all ages, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris features a special audio tour created just for children. Free with the purchase of any adult audio tour, children can tour the exhibition with their own audio wands, pausing at seven designated kid stops to listen to programming created just for them. Featuring kids talking about Picasso, music and sound effects, the audio tours are specially designed to draw the Gallery’s youngest visitors into the world behind the paintings and sculptures.

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.

The AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre also offers families a dedicated area for art instruction and creative play. The Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre, for our youngest visitors and their adult friends, is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


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:

The Death of Casagemas (1901), one of the first works he created in Paris;
Self-Portrait (1906), the iconic self-portrait;
• the Blue Period masterpiece Celestina (The Woman with One-Eye) (1904), and The Two Brothers (1906), a work from his Rose Period;
• 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);
• examples of his genre-defining Analytic and Synthetic Cubism artworks, including Sacred Heart (1909-10), the seminal work Man with a Guitar (1911) and Violin (1915);
Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race) (1922), a masterwork from his Neoclassical period, and The Kiss (1925), from his Surrealist period;
• 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 Bathers (1956), a life-sized, six-piece figurative sculpture series created during a summer in Cannes; and
The Matador (1970), the famous self-portrait painted three years before his death.

The exhibition also highlights Picasso’s depictions of his numerous muses and mistresses, including Portrait of Olga in an Armchair (1918), which features his first wife, Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, seated on a Spanish tapestry, the background left purposefully unfinished. French surrealist photographer Dora Maar, who inspired his Weeping Woman series (1937), is also prominently featured, as is Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s second wife and most-painted muse, seen in the work Jacqueline with Crossed Hands (1954).


On April 26, co-chairs Kate Alexander Daniels and Salah Bachir will host the Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris GALA to benefit the Gallery and celebrate the exhibition. A limited number of tables and tickets are still available for what will be one of the most inspired events on the cultural calendar this spring. The evening includes entertainment and an exclusive preview of the exhibition in advance of its public opening. The gala begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and is followed by dinner in Baillie Court, where guests will be treated to a specially themed meal prepared by the acclaimed AGO culinary team led by executive chef Anne Yarymowich. For tickets, please contact Chiara Lacey at 416-979-6660 ext. 7346 or

Spanish Menus

The AGO’s acclaimed on-site restaurant, FRANK, celebrates Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris this summer with Spanish-inspired menus and specials designed by award-winning executive chef Anne Yarymowich. In addition to three-course, prix-fixe menu options, there are dining and exhibition packages available starting May 1. The $65 ticket (including tax) offers admission to the exhibition, one audio tour, as well as a three-course, Spanish-inspired, prix-fixe dinner at FRANK. A $30 ticket (including tax) offers admission to the exhibition and a set meal at caféAGO, with a choice of sandwich, cookie and non-alcoholic beverage.

Every Tuesday night from May 1 to Aug. 21 is Paella Night at FRANK, offering diners several culinary interpretations of this Spanish speciality.

For the first time ever, an Espresso Bar will be placed in the light-filled Galleria Italia to offer refreshment to visitors as they exit the exhibition. Offering breathtaking views of the city, the bar will serve a variety of house-baked, European-inspired pastries and beverages, including churro-spiced and dulce de leche lattes.

AGO History & Collection

A special complementary exhibition entitled Look Again: Picasso and Man is the first in the AGO’s new series of Look Again exhibitions devoted exclusively to celebrating the Gallery’s history. In 1964, the AGO (then known as the Art Gallery of Toronto) grabbed national headlines for organizing the country’s most ambitious art exhibition to date, Picasso and Man. Featuring works loaned from around the word and two loaned by Picasso himself, an astonishing 106,000 people viewed the landmark exhibition during its five-week run. Opening April 14 and running until Sept. 30, 2012, in the Valerie Greenfield Thompson & Hunter E. Thompson Gallery, film footage of the original uncrating, stern instructions to the Women’s Committee on etiquette, candid photos and Mrs. Lester Pearson’s opening remarks are only a few of the archival gems on display as part of Look Again: Picasso and Man.

A prolific draughtsman and printmaker, Picasso’s drawings and prints reveal his technical virtuosity. On display from March 24 to Sept. 3 in the Esther & Arthur Gelber Treasury is Making His Mark: Picasso Prints and Drawings, a small installation of prints and drawings culled from the AGO’s collection. These six works on paper, dating from the beginning to the end of the artist’s career, demonstrate the wide range of his thematic choices.


In celebration of Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, shopAGO is carrying a range of exclusive and exquisite products inspired by Paris in springtime. Gift registry is available for recent graduates, design lovers or art-inspired mothers, who will appreciate unwrapping a little piece of Picasso’s world this May for Mother’s Day. Visit shopAGO online or call 416-979-6610 for more information.

A 296-page catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition. Edited by the director of the Musée National Picasso, Paris, Anne Baldassari, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris includes 194 illustrations and will be available for purchase at shopAGO for $45.

Talks & Events

Programming highlights for Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris include a series of talks designed to provoke thought and discussion.

The Silent Muse: The Influence of African Art on Picasso’s Early Work
Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m.
Jackman Hall
Public $20 / AGO Members $17 / Students $12

During the early years of the 20th century a new form of painting was born. Join Dr. Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford, curator and research associate at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, as he examines the enduring impact of the radical esthetic changes of the early 20th century. It was a shift that found its most dramatic form in the work of Pablo Picasso, but it was triggered and inspired by the art of Africa.

Picasso and the Art Market
Wednesday, June 6, 7 p.m.
Jackman Hall
Public $20 / AGO Members $17 / Students $12

Join Molly Ott Ambler and Elizabeth Gorayeb for a fascinating look at Picasso and the fine art market. Charting Picasso’s personal relationships with his dealers and the impact of world affairs, the speakers will discuss Picasso’s legacy in the international art trade. Ms. Ott Ambler, director of sales for the last 15 years at Sotheby’s, has been privileged to handle Picasso’s works from every period and in every medium, from delicate pencil drawings to unique terracotta hand-painted owls. Ms. Gorayeb has been involved with many record-breaking sales, including Picasso’s Homme á la pipe. This event is presented in partnership with Sotheby’s Canada.


Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris 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. The exhibition is co-organized by the Musée National Picasso, Paris, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Sponsors, Suporters & Partners

LEAD SPONSOR: BMO Financial Group


OFFICIAL HOTEL PARTNER: Starwood Hotels and Resorts

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.

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.

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,

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