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Some of the most important works at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, from Jackson Pollock’s riotous “Convergence” to major works by Picasso, Andy Warhol and Vincent van Gogh, are about to see the country.

For the first time in decades, the Buffalo treasures will be part of a national touring show, visiting Denver, San Diego, Milwaukee and Bentonville, Ark., the home of Walmart. Among dozens of paintings and sculptures that appear in art history textbooks, the exhibition will include famous pieces by Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Warhol.

The Albright-Knox collection, considered one of the finest modern-art collections in the United States, is “the best-kept secret in the art world,” said new Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén, who has been at the gallery for five months.

“It certainly will become a beacon for the Albright-Knox and increase the familiarity of different audiences and different cities about not only the Albright-Knox but Buffalo as a hub of culture and visual art,” Sirén said Thursday.

The touring exhibition, called “Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery,” begins in Denver on March 2, 2014, and wraps up in September 2015. It will stop in Buffalo, from July 3 to Sept. 14, 2014.

“Picasso to Pollock” emerged from the 2011 Albright-Knox exhibition “The Long Curve,” which featured the highlights of the museum’s 150 years of collecting.

It was curated by Dean Sobel, the director of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, which will also host a major exhibition of paintings by the late abstract expressionist master from the Albright-Knox collection that will run concurrently with the Denver Art Museum show from Feb. 14 to June 15, 2014.

In a statement released by the Denver Art Museum, Sobel said the Albright-Knox tour provides a new way to view art-making in the 20th century.

“Sometimes considered radical or off the wall, the artwork presented in these exhibitions explores a time of great creativity,” Sobel said. “It’s a rare treat to be able to see the development of modern art and then go next door to the Clyfford Still Museum and explore the evolution of one artist in-depth.”

For Sirén, the exhibition provides a much-needed opportunity for the Albright-Knox to measure up to its professed desire to “play a leading role in regional, national and global stages.”

“Our collection gives us the opportunity to do that, but the recognition that needs to go with that vision is not there in terms of the general public,” he said. “I think that exhibitions of this nature will do a lot in that department to achieve that goal. It will enable us to work towards the direction where we will be more recognized and have a greater awareness about the true depth of the collection.”

email:cdabkowski@buffnews.com