The Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden
Nine magnificent sculptures by Henry Moore, three of the most beautiful Aristide Maillol, eight Auguste Rodin, and other masterpieces by Henry Laurens, Jacques Lipchitz, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, Gwynn Murrill, John Mason, Herbert Ferber, Peter Voulkos, Auguste Renoir: this is what you can admire in the lovely gardens of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, north east of Los Angeles, in California.
Norton Simon was born in Portland, Oregon, and made his fortune in the food industry. He started collecting art in the 1950s and soon gathered a significant collection. Living in California, he becomes a board member of many museums and universities. At the beginning of the 1970s, the executive board of the Pasadena Art Museum, created in 1922, turned to Norton Simon for financial help to avoid bankruptcy. The collector offered to pay off the museum’s debts, to take the lead – he will remain at the head of the museum until his death in 1993 – and to display his collection of more than 4,000 works. Soon, the museum is renamed the “Norton Simon Museum”.
In 1995, two years after her husband’s death, Jennifer Jones Simon asked Frank Gehry and landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power to redesign the museum and its garden, wishing to reproduce the magic of Monet’s garden in Giverny.
Nancy Goslee Power replaced the former rectangular concrete basin with a water lily pond featuring more natural shapes, reintroduced numerous hundred-year-old trees, created a Japanese garden atmosphere, and covered these few acres of land with fragrant plants, grasses, and varieties of plants that bloom according to the subtle changes of the Californian seasons, thus allowing visitors to discover the works in an almost intimate setting, as a private garden would.
We strongly recommend you take the time to stroll around the museum’s room where other masterpieces are displayed: sculptures such as Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space, Tall Figure IV by Alberto Giacometti, Marino Marini’s Horseman, and many others by Degas.
All the great names of XXth century painting are present: Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Manet, Kandinsky, Klee, Sam Francis, to name just a few. But Norton Simon also acquired an entire collection of ancient masters from the famous art dealers the Duveen Brothers: from Cranach to Rembrandt, Italian master Giovanni di Paolo or Asian antiquities, this Pasadena museum is a gem which is worth a detour, particularly if one is yearning for the charm which some of the big “blockbuster” museums often lack.
Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105-1825
Mon 12h — 17h
Wed 12h — 17h
Thu – Sat 11h — 20h
Sun 11h — 17h