Two exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario feature the colour blue.  One is “Blue View” consisting of paintings created by Canadian artist Matthew Wong between 2017 and 2019.  The other is an exhibit of Picasso paintings at the beginning of the 20th century especially his “blue period” 1901-1904.

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Matthew Wong (1984-2019)

two women in an art gallery looking at paintings by Matthew Wong

below: “Starry Night”

starry Night, a painting by Matthew Wong

a small painting by Matthew Wong of an open doorway into a bathroom from a darkened bedroom

women looking at blue paintings by Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong paintings at the Art Gallery of Ontario

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

below: Nudes painted before the Blue Period… and when Picasso was only 19 or 20 years old.

man looking at Picasso paintings at the AGO

In 1901 Picasso was given access to Saint-Lazare prison-hospital in Paris where he painted many of the inmates, especially the women who were there as a result of their participation in the sex trade.  They were impoverished and forgotten women living in deplorable conditions, often with young children.  Picasso painted them in shades of blue and green and in his paintings sex work, motherhood and syphilis become intertwined.  They can be compared to images of the Virgin Mary with an infant Jesus, a secularized Madonna.

below: “Mother and Child by Fountain”

Picasso's painting Mother and Child by a Fountain, on wall at Art Gallery of Ontario

below: “Woman and Child by the Sea”, 1902

painting by Picasso

below: “The Soup”, 1902

young woman looking at Picasso painting, The Soup

below: “The Blue Room”, 1901

two women with grey hair looking at Picasso painting from his blue period, woman getting a bath in small tub in middle of her room

below: “The Frugal Repast”.  Not in blue but still with the theme of the working poor.  This was an etching that Picasso first made in 1904.  Later, in 1913, he printed 250 copies of it.

older couple looking at picture by Picasso, in greys and browns,

two women looking at pictures at AGO

With thanks to Alice and Arlene for spending a couple of hours looking at paintings with me.

“Picasso, painting the blue period” continues until 16 Jan 2022.

Matthew Wong paintings are on display until 18 April 2022

Comments
  1. icelandpenny says:

    I prefer the Wong to the Picasso!

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