June 13, 2013
Pablo Picasso and Chicago have a somewhat special relationship. The Art Institute, Chicago’s top art museum, was the first in the United States to recognise the potential and collect the work of the young Spanish artist. Despite the fact that Picasso never actually visited Chicago in his lifetime (or, in fact, anywhere in the United States), the city played an essential role in kicking off his young career. So it’s no surprise that you can jump on a flight to Chicago and still see some of his best works today. We recommend visiting these four spots”¦
The titan of Chicago’s art scene, The Art Institute honoured the 100th anniversary of its relationship with Picasso with the new exhibit “˜Picasso and Chicago’ earlier this year. Picasso first made a splash at the 1913 Chicago Armory Show, and the museum brought together over 200 of his works in commemoration of that event. The Art Institute also has many of his pieces in its permanent collection, which can be enjoyed by viewers all year long.
Chicago’s most accessible piece by Picasso is on view for all at Daley Plaza in the Loop area of downtown. The striking sculpture, often known simply as The Picasso, measures 50 feet high and weighs a whopping 162 tonnes. It’s famous for being Chicago’s very first public art sculpture (now, of course, Chicago has dozens of impressive public pieces), and was gifted to the city by the artist himself. Installed in 1967, it depicts a woman’s face in Picasso’s typical cubist style. You couldn’t be criticised for thinking it more closely resembles a baboon, though.
The University of Chicago’s on-campus art museum, The Smart Museum has been around since 1974 and since then has built up an impressive collection spanning 5,000 years of visual arts around the globe. In its permanent collection are nine works by Picasso, including the lithograph print Head of a Young Woman and an etching, Trois Nu Debout.
Founded in 1916 after the success of the Chicago Armory Show, Arts Club of Chicago presented the first solo Picasso show in the US and has been an important voice in modern art ever since. Pieces like Picasso’s Head of a Woman are now in its permanent collection, and lovers of modern art can also find work by his contemporaries like Georges Braque, Francis Picabia, Paul Klee, and Joan MirÃ³.
Ever seen Picasso’s work in person? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.