Norton Simon Museum  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Norton Simon Museum is a premier art museum located in Pasadena, California. It was previously known by several other names, such as the Pasadena Art Institute and the Pasadena Art Museum. The collections include European paintings, sculpture, tapestry and some remarkable sculpture from South Asia. Outside gardens also house sculptures as well as a small lake. It is located along the route of the Tournament of Roses Parade and its distinctive brown tile exterior can be seen in the background on television.

The museum features a theater which shows various films throughout the day and hosts lectures, symposia, and dance and musical performances several year-round.



The Norton Simon Museum contains a significant permanent collection which is highly regarded internationally. The Museum also mounts temporary exhibitions that focus on a particular artist, an art movement or artistic period, or art that was created in a specific region or country.

Asian art

The Museum has a world-renowned collection of art from South Asia and Southeast Asia, with examples of this region’s sculptural and painting traditions. On display are holdings from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as selected works from Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Japan. The collection is particularly rich in art from the Indian subcontinent, including monumental stone sculpture from the Kushana and Gupta periods, and a remarkable group of [[Chola bronzes from southern India. Selections of the Museum’s Rajput paintings from India, and thangkas, or Buddhist religious paintings, from Tibet and Nepal are well represented. The impressive collection of Japanese woodblock prints has a majority which were formerly in the collection of Frank Lloyd Wright.

European art: 14th-16th centuries

Masterworks of the Early Renaissance, the High Renaissance and Mannerism make up the Museum’s extensive collection of 14th- to 16th-century European art. Exquisite works by Paolo Veneziano and Giovanni di Paolo, and an exceptional [[Guariento di Arpo altarpiece, anchor the Museum’s collection of gold-ground panel paintings. Jacopo Bassano, Botticelli, Filippino Lippi and Raphael are represented by rich oil paintings of religious scenes. Also represented are magnificent examples of such Northern European masters as Lucas Cranach the Elder, Dieric Bouts and Hans Memling. The portraits of Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini and El Greco reflect the great diversity of subject matter in the collection.

European art: 17th-18th centuries

the Museum’s early Baroque paintings from Italy and Spain are represented by such noted artists as Guido Reni, Guercino, Murillo and Zurbarán. The Northern Baroque collection is profoundly expressed in the works of Peter Paul Rubens. The remarkable group of 17th-century Dutch genre, portrait and landscape paintings is crowned with three portraits by Rembrandt. Capping off the 17th century are Flemish and German still lifes, and religious landscapes by the French masters Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. The French component of the 18th century collection contains paintings by Watteau, Fragonard and Boucher, while Italy is represented with capriccios and historic glimpses into the daily life of Rome and Venice with works by Longhi, Pannini, Guardi, Canaletto, and Tiepolo.

European art: 19th century

The Museum's paintings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Francisco de Goya mark the beginning of the 19th century and lead to superb examples of mid-century Realism executed by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet]] and Édouard Manet. The Museum has the most significant collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in Southern California. Works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, who alone is represented by over one hundred works of art, are displayed alongside the vibrant palettes of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. Complementing these works are Auguste Rodin’s monumental bronze sculptures, displayed in the Museum’s front garden. Outstanding paintings by Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard lead to the doorstep of 20th-century Modernism.

Modern art

The Museum has an extensive collection of Modern art, with seminal works by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, and Diego Rivera on permanent view. The "Galka Scheyer collection of works by the Blue Four artists" boasts paintings and works on paper by Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, and Vasily Kandinsky.

Contemporary art

The collection of Post-War Contemporary Art, from the Norton Simon Museum's acquisition of the Pasadena Art Museum's building and collections, is noteworthy for its strength in collage, assemblage and sculpture, including works by Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, George Herms, and Ed Kienholz. Pop Art, and Minimal Art are represented by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Robert Irwin. Californian art from the 1950s through the 1970s is a particular strength, with artwork by Sam Francis, Richard Diebenkorn, Ronald Davis, Larry Bell, Edward Ruscha, Kenneth Price, Charles Arnoldi, and Ed Moses, Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction are represented by Ronald Davis, Sam Francis, Kenneth Noland, Ronnie Landfield, Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, and Kenneth Showell.


Major sculptors of the early 20th century, including Aristide Maillol, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Isamu Noguchi, are represented by works in bronze, lead and marble sculptures throughout the galleries, the Front Garden, and in the extensive Sculpture Garden grounds.

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