ArtSummer 2023

Picasso 50 Years Later, A View to a Legacy

A new exhibition at the Elmhurst Art Museum takes an in-depth look at Picasso’s legacy, its impact and importance in how we think about art today.

Any artist, poet or musician worth their weight in salt aims to do much more than just create. Certainly, expression is a passionate part of their journeys, but if meaningful expression is to come to its greatest fruition, it must leave an impression. Every artist understands that. A lasting impression is really the point of that expression. That lasting impression is likely a touchstone for the most iconic artists. It certainly is the case for Pablo Picasso. After his death a half century earlier, his legacy leaves an indelible mark today. 

A new exhibition at the Elmhurst Art Museum this fall seeks to explore that legacy and inform on the Modern master’s work and lasting influence.

Entitled Picasso: Fifty Years Later, the three-part exhibition is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death in 1973. It features works by Picasso and notable contemporaries like Alexander Archipenko, Wifredo Lam, Fernand Léger, and Joan Miró; a gallery dedicated to the demanding process of Picasso’s printmaking; and a presentation of contemporary figurative artists today. 

Offering the opportunity to reflect on both lasting impressions and new interpretations of the famed artist, Picasso: Fifty Years Later serves as an important component of the worldwide Picasso 1973-2023 Celebration, showcasing exhibitions across the US and around the globe.

The Elmhurst Art Museum will host this revelatory exhibition after undergoing a $1.1 million facility improvement project this past spring. John McKinnon, executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum, notes, “We’re honored that the Elmhurst Art Museum can bring the global salute of Pablo Picasso to Chicagoland. This is an incredible opportunity to present an artist that continues to captivate artists and the general public alike.”

The three-part tribute begins with Modern works from the Sally J. and Raymond J. Allen Collection, including an introduction to Picasso’s work, life, and peers. The gallery will feature several Cubist works that reveal just how Picasso and the other artists of his time responded to the technologically driven Modern age, with works by Picasso, Alexander Archipenko, Wifredo Lam, Fernand Léger, and Joan Miró, among others.

The exhibition continues with the debut of a nationally touring show Picasso and the Progressive Proof: Linocut Prints from a Private Collection. It includes seventeen progressive proofs that show the detailed steps and demanding linoleum block printmaking processes that allowed the artist to experiment with recurring themes throughout his career, such as subjects by the Old Masters, the Spanish tradition of bullfighting and classical mythology. 

Following its debut at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Picasso and the Progressive Proof: Linocut Prints from a Private Collection will expand its footprint by traveling to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (August 2024) and Hilliard Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (February 2025), with other locations to be announced. The exhibition is accompanied by an expansive 88 page, full-color, hardcover catalogue by Richard P. Townsend, the curator of Picasso and the Progressive Proof, and published by Skira Editore, Milan.

Says Townsend, “I am pleased that the national tour of Picasso and the Progressive Proof opens at the Elmhurst Art Museum, known for its adventurous programming. This will, it is hoped, broaden the public’s understanding of the creative process of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Pablo Picasso.” 

The final gallery of Picasso: Fifty Years Later will include a meticulously curated selection of works in direct conversation with Picasso by area painters Laura Berger, Liz Flores, Richard Hull, Leasho Johnson, and José Lerma. Titled 50 Years After Picasso, the gallery explores distinct ways in which contemporary artists have challenged, furthered and broken from Picasso’s experiments in representation since his passing fifty years ago, inviting new interpretations and perspectives of his wider legacy.

Picasso: Fifty Years Later is co-curated by John McKinnon and Richard P. Townsend. Picasso and the Progressive Proof: Linocut Prints from a Private Collection is organized by Townsend Art Advisory LLC. 

. Regular admission prices are $18 for Adults (ages 18+), $15 for Seniors, $10 for Students, and $5 for Children. For more information, please call 630.834.0202 or visit