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Sneak Preview: a photo tour of the much-anticipated Picasso exhibit at the AGO

On May 1, the much anticipated “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris” exhibit begins its three-and-a-half-month stint at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Considered the Picasso collection by Picasso, the 5,000 works on display represent actual pieces that Picasso kept for himself and his family over the course of his career. The exhibit is arranged in seven different rooms and takes you through Picasso’s varied career, from the beginning to days before his death. The exhibit includes everything from informal sketchbooks to iconic masterpieces, and Anne Baldassari, chairman and chief curator from the Musée National Picasso, describes the carefully selected collection as “a true chronology of his life.” You get a feel for his love of women through various nudes and portraits of his lovers (Olga Khokhlova, Dora Maar and Françoise Gilot), and the exhibition explores his constant experimentation with styles (blue and pink periods, African art-inspired works, grotesque surrealism and radical cubism). Picasso was famously quoted as saying, “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it,” and he has now filled seven rooms of one. (Whew!)

The AGO exhibit will run from May 1 to August 26, and it’s the only Canadian stop on the tour. Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO, announced yesterday that the AGO hopes this exhibit will be the catalyst for a new way of experiencing the museum. For the duration of the exhibit, the gallery’s restraurant Frank will be offering a prix fixe dinner with a menu “inspired by the man himself,” and we heard rumours that there may be a special paella night on Tuesdays (which is apparently Picasso’s favourite food). Also, the museum hopes to inspire young visitors and will be offering free kid-focused audio tours. Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up,” so Teitelbaum hopes this show will help inspire children to maintain their creativity, instead of wasting time trading Pokémon cards (or whatever is popular right now).

Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris, AGO, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, www.ago.net