Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
by Beltway Buddy
October 10, 2005
The artwork in the museum’s Upper (main) Level spans 7 centuries, from the 14th through the 20th. There are true masterpieces by Henri Rousseau ("Exotic Landscape"), Modigliani ("Portrait of the Artist’s Wife", "Jeanne Hebuterne") Picasso, Cezanne, Gauguin: the list goes on and on. Rembrandt and other Dutch masters are also represented (the floral "vanitas" still-lifes by de Heem, Brueghel, and Bosschaert are stunning).
There are also other "lesser-known" artists who have unforgettable works here: Check out "Self-Portrait" by Marie-Genevieve Bouliar, "Landscape with Ruins and Animals" by Roelandt Savery, "Vase of Lilacs, Roses and Tulips," and "Cliffs at Etretat, La Porte D’Aval" by Gustave Courbet. If you are a dog lover, don’t miss Il Guercino’s portrait of "The Aldrovandi Dog."
I’m naming the really good pieces because the museum does show some art that is boring or second-rate and, frankly, not worth looking at. However, considering the excellence of so many other art works in the Norton Simon collection, showing the "duds" is a venial sin at best.
The museum also has a Sculpture Garden and a South Asian collection that I wasn’t able to visit (just ran out of time). Fortunately, I didn’t miss the larger-than-life Rodin bronzes that greet visitors at the Museum’s entrance. The Norton Simon is open daily except Tuesday. Hours are noon to 6pm (they’re open late on Fridays, till 9pm). There is a well-stocked museum store that can accommodate all price ranges and ages. Bring the kids – there’s a self-guided audio tour for families and adults for only $3. The Museum provides more info at its website, www.nortonsimon.org. Phone: 626/449-6840
From journal Pasadena without the Rose Parade
June 28, 2004
The museum and gardens are open 12pm - 6pm daily except Tuesdays. We spent a Sunday afternoon there... not crowded at all, easy parking and admission price ($6) was reasonable. Seniors are half-price and students with a valid ID are free.
The grounds are well-manicured both front and back and were an idyllic place to just relax. In the far back portion of the garden, the 210 Fwy and Colorado Blvd intruded somewhat on the mood; but if you come in just a few yards closer to the main house, the noise level drops off considerably. There is a cafe outside in the back garden - basic fare but all the essentials are there.
When we went, there was an exhibition of Indian art, which was very interesting and eye-opening. In addition, the home collection was very extensive. We found that we enjoyed the classical paintings more than the more contemporary art. They have available an audio commentary for rent when you get there. Maybe next time, we'll try it.
Overall, an excellent time. If you're visiting, and only get to go there once, spend more than an afternoon - you're really selling yourself and the museum short if you spend less than a day. Evening dining is close by at Old Town Pasadena, so make a day-trip out of it.
From journal Ongoing Tour of Pasadena
seal beach, California
January 8, 2001
From journal A Hidden Treasure just 12 miles from LA
November 10, 2000
From journal A Break from L.A. Chaos