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Picasso's 41-inch steel model for his sculpture in Daley Plaza. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute.
Pablo Picasso, Six Busts of Women, 1962. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute.
Pablo Picasso, The Red Armchair, 1931. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute.
Pablo Picasso, Nude Under a Pine Tree, 1959. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute.
Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921. Photo courtesy of the Art Institute.
Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1967, showing a study of his Chicago sculpture. Photo courtesy of SOM.
The newest Art Institute exhibit, “Picasso and Chicago,” is one of those blockbuster shows that your out-of-town guests will insist on seeing and your dinner dates will bring up over dessert.
Keep up with the cultural chitchat by memorizing these under-the-radar Picasso facts.
1. The painter lived in France but was born in Spain to parents who named him Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. Say that three times fast.
2. He never actually visited Chicago. In fact, Picasso never stepped foot in the United States. Yes, we’re also a little shocked.
3. The Art Institute was the first American museum to show Picasso’s work as part of the landmark Armory Show in 1913. About 200,000 Chicagoans saw the exhibit over 23 days.
4. People still argue over the “Chicago Picasso” sculpture in Daley Plaza. Is it a sphinx? Brigitte Bardot’s ponytail? The Art Institute’s official literature plainly calls it the “stylized bust of a woman.” Either way, Picasso refused a $100,000 check for the piece. He also gifted a model of the sculpture to the Art Institute; it’s the first thing you’ll see when you walk into the exhibit.
“Picasso and Chicago” runs through May 12 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-443-3600 or artic.edu
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