The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena features various art collections that are significant to history.

The history of the Norton Simon Museum dates to 1922 when the Pasadena Art Institute was founded with the intention of providing the community with various knowledge about art and history. Two years later, the Pasadena Art Institute was established as an institution that was nonprofit and privately endowed. During the same year, the Pasadena Art Institute purchased 9.5 acres of land, as well as the Reed mansion that was located within Carmelita Park.



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In 1941 the entire Carmelita Park was given to the City of Pasadena. The Pasadena Art Institute fought for the ownership of Carmelita Park, and eventually settled with the City of Pasadena to allow the institute to lease Carmelita Park and establish a permanent museum. The next year, the Pasadena Art Institute joined with the Pasadena Museum of Art to create an art headquarters in Grace Nicholson Studios. Grace Nicholson eventually gave her studios to the City of Pasadena, who then gave the studios as well as Miss Nicholson’s grant of $40,000 to the Pasadena Art Institute.

From 1942 until the early 1970s, the Pasadena Art Institute continuously acquired art collections, and even changed the museum’s name to the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art. Since the museum had recently undergone renovations, and were not achieving expected reception, the museum ran into financial difficulties. But, in 1974 Norton Simon negotiated with the museum’s trustees to help the museum gain financial stability on the terms that he hold all management powers. Under the management of Norton Simon, the museum officially changed its name to the Norton Simon Museum and brought the museum to new prosperity. Today, the museum continues to expand with regards to architecture and art.

The Norton Simon Museum is proud to display six different permanent attractions. These attractions range from ancient Asian art to modern day forms of art. Asian Art features a variety of art from every corner of Asia. Although this attraction has art pieces from a variety of locations, it has a concentration of art from India, specifically during the periods of Kushana and Gupta. Most of the art pieces in this exhibit showcases how religious and political ideals played a key role in Asian art throughout the decades.

European Art: 14th-16th Centuries is the Norton Simon Museum’s most extensive permanent attraction. This exhibit features art from various points of the Renaissance. Many of the paintings in this exhibit demonstrate how most people in this time period devoted their lives to religion.

European Art: 17th-18th Centuries showcases on art mainly from Italy, Spain, and France. Some of the highlights of this permanent attraction include; Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, and Portrait of a Boy.



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European Art: 19th Century is known as the most comprehensive and extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art within the West Coast of the United States. This exhibit has pieces of art from the likes of Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Modern and Contemporary Art displays an extensive amount of various types of modern and contemporary art. Although this exhibit displays popular artists such as Andy Warhol, one of the highlights of this exhibits is the diversity of the Post-War Contemporary Art.

Prints and Photographs is another one of the museum’s most concentrated permanent attractions. While this exhibit displays various prints and photographs from renowned artists, it focuses on the work of; Rembrandt, Edward Weston, Minor White, Francisco de Goya, Frederick Sommer, and Pablo Picasso.

Like many other art museums, the Norton Simon Museum hosts traveling art collections. Prior to visiting the museum, check out an updated list of the museum’s special attractions on the Norton Simon Museum website.

Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom’ is one of the most popular special attractions currently at the Norton Simon Museum. This traveling art exhibit is on loan from the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. This is one of Van Gogh’s most popular and renowned pieces of art that features an inclusive look into his intimate and creative bedroom. This exhibit will be on display until March 6, 2017.

The Norton Simon Museum offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for people of all ages. A couple of the most popular educational programs for families and children are the various specialized family days and the Family Art Nights Program. For teenagers and adults, they have the option of taking one of the museum’s specialized and intense art classes.

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411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105, Phone: 626-449-6840

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