This Is Your Last Chance To See The Art Institute's Picasso and Chicago

By Amy Cavanaugh in Arts & Entertainment on May 11, 2013 9:00PM


Pablo Picasso. Mother and Child, 1921. The Art Institute of Chicago, restricted gift of Maymar Corporation, Mrs. Maurice L.Rothschild, and Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick; Mary and Leigh Block Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment; through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin E. Hokin. © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Art Institute of Chicago's blockbuster show, Picasso and Chicago, closes at the end of the day tomorrow. Hours have been extended until 8 p.m. tonight, so if you haven't seen the show yet, consider heading downtown after dinner for a peek.

We went to see the show back in February:

The crux of the show is that in 1913, when Chicago held the Armory Show, the Art Institute became the first American art museum to show Picasso’s work. This is the 100th anniversary of the New York Armory Show of 1913, which featured work from forward-thinking contemporary European artists and their American counterparts. To bring the show from New York to Chicago, the city had to cancel previously planned shows and empty galleries. The show, which featured work by Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and others, ultimately changed Americans’ attitudes toward art and attracted nearly 200,000 visitors.

The Art Institute began collecting Picasso’s art in the 1920s, when it bought two drawings. In 1926, it added The Old Guitarist, which Picasso painted in 1903-1904 and was the first painting acquired by an American institution and put on permanent view. The painting, on display here, is one of the most famous images from his Blue Period, which are austere and influenced by the death of his friend and fellow painter, Carlos Casagemas.

Picasso and Chicago provides a chronological overview of the artist’s work, life, and influences. On view are 250 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and ceramics. It’s a comprehensive showcase of what the artist can do—the sheer breadth of media that Picasso excelled at is incredible. Since all the works come from Chicago, this can’t be a greatest hits show, but it is a strong survey of the artist’s career.