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Art with ♥: Valentine’s Day at the AGO

February 4th, 2016

Henry Matisse, La Coeur, date unknown, stencil print on paper, 42.1 x 65 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Mr. Arthur Gelber, 1986

Henry Matisse, La Coeur, date unknown, stencil print on paper, 42.1 x 65 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Gift of Mr. Arthur Gelber, 1986

See more (he)artful AGO works on our #ValentinesDay Pinterest Board.

Toronto is loaded with options for Valentine’s Day — spas, restaurants, bars  — but if you’re looking for something unique (or some art to get you through the day), make it a day and night at the gallery, in the company of Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, Christi Belcourt and Henri Matisse.

Share your experiences by tagging #HeartAGO

1. Take the Valentine’s Tour (and the Not-so-Valentine’s Tour)

February 14, 2016, 11am–5:30pm
Artful discussion and themed tours of the AGO’s collection — what’s not to love? In the company of a knowledgeable and engaging AGO Gallery Guide, you’ll visit masterworks that explore themes of romantic love, love of celebrity, love of food, love of nature, break-ups/scorned love, and more. Highlights include works by Alex Colville, Rembrandt, Andy Warhol, and Emily Carr.

1-Hour Highlights Tours (every one is different!): 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. Meet in Walker Court, Level 1 (If you need directions, head to the Info Kiosk at the entrance.)

On the Dot Tours: Quick, 10-minute art chats. Meet in front of the work On the Dot:

11:30am “Soldier and Girl at Station” by Alex Colville, Room 206
11:30am “The Death of Elaine” by Homer Watson, Room 125
1:30 PM “The Idea Lab,” Room 114
2:30 PM “The Marchesa Casati” by Augustus Edward John, Room 125


2. Give someone some AGO♥

(clockwise from top): Valentine’s Day cards ($4–$5). Umbra Pongo Table Tennis set ($40). Keith Haring box of chocolates ($26). Alessi AL13002 Red Leather Strap Watch ($200).

Finding a Valentine’s Day present may be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be bewildering. Here are few thoughtful and unconventional shopAGO gifts, from playful tokens of friendship for PAL-entine’s Day to over-the-moon romantic gestures for the more-than-just pals.

Where: shopAGO, online or in person


3. Commit… to a 1+1 Membership

Gift of Membership

Say “I want to spend more time with you (and great art)” with a one-year dual-membership ($145).

Where: Online or in person at The Membership Info Desk, Lobby


4. Tell them “I like you a latte”


(Photo: @daneshhanbury)

When the way to their heart is through their coffee, head to the Galleria Italia Espresso Bar for European cappuccinos, lattes, gelato and treats, and a stellar view of Dundas Street West. Perfect to enjoy ensemble or solo.

Where: Level 2, Galleria Italia


5. Visit Drawing, Je t’aime


(Robert Motherwell, Je t’aime, 1955, Ink on paper, Overall: 38.1 x 27.3 cm (15 x 10 3/4 in.). Purchased with funds from an Anonymous Donor, with support from the Dedalus Foundation, 1998)

“Robert Motherwell, a self-admitted Francophile, used this romantic phrase to express his deeply felt passion for artmaking. The calligraphic elements and interplay of text and image produce, in the artist’s words, ‘a desperate cry for love.’”

–Brenda Rix, Manager, Print and Drawing Study Centre

Take in over 100 rarely seen drawings by Jacopo Tintoretto, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Joyce Wieland and Annie Pootoogook, and draw your sweetheart’s self-portrait at our portraiture stations. Free with general admission. Share your #DrawingAGO photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.

Where: Level 1, Eaton/Gelber/Elliot Galleries


6. Spiral up the stairway


According to some, architect Frank Gehry designed the Baroque spiral staircase narrower at some points so that “two people, one going up and the other going down, would pass each other closely and fall in love.” Share your #GehryStaircase photos with @agotoronto on Instagram and Twitter.

Where: Walker Court, Level 2


7. Have dinner at FRANK

We call this piece, “The AGO’s FRANK restaurant Valentine’s Day Menu”: Seared scallops with honeycrisp apple in butter froth. Yuk Hwe beef tartare with kimchi and grilled ciabatta. Smoked sabayon and king oyster mushroom ravioli. Duck with roasted butternut squash and port plums. Dark chocolate ganache cake and poached pear tarte. ($85 per guest; or $100 per guest including recommended wine pairings, taxes and gratuity)

When: February 12 & 13, 2016

Where: FRANK Restaurant, Level 1


8. Sip on Afternoon Tea at the Grange


If nothing but the finest recreation of a Downton Abbey high tea will satisfy, then treat yourself (and maybe them too) at the Grange. February 13 & 14, by reservation only; Members’ exclusive only. 

When: February 13 & 14, 2016

Where: Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge, Grange House, Level 1


9. Get crafty with the kids at AGO Family Sundays

Little ones can get in the spirit by creating heart-shaped suncatchers during our special Family Sunday artmaking workshop. Included with general admission.

Where: Weston Family Learning Centre, Concourse Level