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Picasso Blue Period exhibition comes to Toronto this fall


Canada’s first-ever survey of Picasso’s influential Blue Period brings more than 100 artworks from 15 countries to Toronto this fall

TORONTO —The wait is nearly over! This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents a major exhibition on Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period (1901-1904). Combining art historical research, cutting-edge conservation science and sublime works of art, Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is the first exhibition in Canada to focus on the modernist master’s early years. Opening on Oct. 6, 2021, and featuring more than 100 objects from 15 countries, the exhibition is co-organized by the AGO and The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC with the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris.

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is curated by Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s Associate Curator of Modern Art, and Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, Curator at The Phillips Collection.

This landmark exhibition concentrates on the years 1901-1904, telling the story of how Picasso, then a fledgling painter in his late teens and early twenties, formulated his signature Blue Period style as he moved back and forth between the cities of Paris and Barcelona. Revealing how the young artist borrowed from and transformed the subject matter and motifs of his contemporaries and predecessors during these critical years, the exhibition will also show how Picasso’s multi-layered responses to the social and political events around him resulted in spellbinding works that to this day force audiences to grapple with uncomfortable issues such as poverty, labour unrest, gender inequality and war.

At the heart of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is new scientific and art historical research undertaken by the AGO and The Phillips Collection on the three Blue Period paintings in their respective collections: The Blue Room (Paris, 1901; The Phillips Collection), Crouching Beggarwoman (Barcelona, 1902; Art Gallery of Ontario), and The Soup (Barcelona, 1903; Art Gallery of Ontario).

Laboratories dedicated to conservation science provide audiences the opportunity to explore the underlying layers of these three Blue Period canvases. In the final gallery of the exhibition, audiences will see how these three Blue Period paintings informed Picasso’s artistic experiments during his important Rose Period of 1904-1907.

Ticket information for Picasso: Painting the Blue Period

The exhibition opens to AGO Members on Oct. 6, and Members may book tickets as of today, Sept. 14.

Admission to Picasso: Painting the Blue Period is free for all visitors 25 and under, AGO Members and holders of the $35 Annual Pass. Single tickets, which include access to the AGO Collection, are $25 per person.

AGO Members and Annual Passholders get the very first opportunities to see Picasso: Painting the Blue Period.

AGO Annual Passholders are eligible to join Members to see it on Oct. 9, and may book tickets starting tomorrow, Sept. 15.

Individuals purchasing single admission tickets may visit the exhibition starting on Oct. 26, and tickets are available starting tomorrow, Sept. 15.

Also continuing this fall at the AGO is the acclaimed exhibition Andy Warhol, on now at the AGO, runs to October 24. Members and Annual Passholders may access both exhibitions for free during the period of overlap. Single ticket visitors must wait until after Andy Warhol has closed before they can visit Picasso: Painting the Blue Period.


Advance purchase or reservation of a timed ticket is required for all entry to the AGO, including General Admission. A limited number of tickets is available for each 15-minute timeslot in order to help control the flow of visitors.

The AGO takes safety seriously and strictly adheres to all public health regulations. Rigorous health and safety protocols are in place including capacity restrictions, entry screening and timed-entry ticketing. Visitors are encouraged to visit and review the reopening web page for more information and helpful FAQs, and to self-assess before visiting the Gallery. Although Members and Annual Passholders are welcome to see both Andy Warhol and Picasso: Painting the Blue Period in one visit, to ensure capacity limits are maintained, visitors will need to book separate timed-entry tickets for each exhibition.

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