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Finding a few heavyweights at the AGO

Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, exhibition curator

When I sent the initial 100 Masters loans list in late 2011 to Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario, he responded with the news that most of the works could not be lent due to the reinstallation of the permanent collection galleries and impending loans. However, he did assure me that Lloyd DeWitt, Curator of European Art, would come up with an equally compelling list for consideration. I was pleasantly surprised when some of my favourite French pictures appeared on Lloyd’s list including the Claude Lorrain landscape and a delightful pastoral work by François Boucher, by far the best in Canada.

I had borrowed Claude’s Coast View with Embarkation of Carlo and Ubaldo a few years before for an exhibition on architectural ruins that I had organized for the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Ohio, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. With Lloyd’s recommendation, I added the pair of Roman view paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini and the sumptuous Le concert by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a gem among the AGO’s Impressionist pictures.

At this stage, I had yet to secure a painting by Pablo Picasso for the exhibition, so when Lloyd suggested La Miséreuse accroupie, a 1902 work from the artist’s Blue Period, I was elated. In a subsequent meeting with Matthew Teitelbaum, he asked if I had been able to obtain what I wanted for the exhibition, and I confirmed that with the loan of the six European works, both he and Lloyd had certainly delivered.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973, La Miséreuse accroupie (The Crouching Beggar), 1902. Oil on canvas,
101.3 x 66 cm. Purchased 1963, 63/1. © Picasso Estate / SODRAC (2012). Lent by: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

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