Frequently Asked Questions - Art

Visitor | Art | Norton Simon | Other


Can I touch the art? Why is there glass covering some of the artwork?
Does natural light damage the artwork? How many works of art are in the collections?
How many works of art are on display? Can I take photography of the galleries, gardens, and artwork?
I would like to sell or donate some artwork, whom should I contact? I have artwork that needs to be appraised or is in need of conservation, whom should I contact?
Are the paintings copies or originals? Are the sculptures copies or originals?
Are all the frames original? How are the Degas bronzes made and what is a "modèle"?

Can I touch the art? No, a finger placed upon the surface of a painting or sculpture can easily result in physical damage. Cracks can occur and the binding of paint to canvas can be endangered. The cleanest hands have a coating of perspiration, which is acidic and potentially very damaging to the art.

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Why is there glass covering some of the artwork? Works are covered to protect them from the damaging effects of the environment.

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Does natural light damage the artwork? Yes, all of the windows in the galleries and the glass protective covers have been treated to protect the works of art from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.

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How many works of art are in the collections? There are approximately 12,500 - 13,000 objects in the entire collection and approximately 800 on view at any one time.

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How many works of art are on display? An average of 800 is on view, though this number varies as galleries and exhibits change.

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Can I take photography of the galleries, gardens, and artwork? Visitors are welcome to take still photographs in the galleries for private noncommercial use only. No flashes of any kind are allowed. We recommend you view our complete photography policy prior to your visit.

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I would like to sell or donate some artwork, whom should I contact? If you have an object you think the Museum might be interested in, or you would like to donate artwork to the Museum, please email a letter with a description and photograph to the Curatorial Department via the contact page.

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I have artwork that needs to be appraised or is in need of conservation, whom should I contact? The Museum does not offer appraisal or conservation services. Many fine art appraisers are listed in the telephone book. You may contact them to find the dates of their "Open Houses."

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Are the paintings copies or originals? All the paintings in the collections are original.

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Are the sculptures copies or originals? The stone, terracotta and marble sculptures are original. Most European bronze sculptures are cast in multiples from a wax or plaster original. Our labels indicate which number of the edition is on display. The Asian bronze sculptures are unique casts.

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Are all the frames original? Some are original and some are copies of originals.

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How are the Degas bronzes made and what is a "modèle"?

The Degas bronzes are made by the "indirect lost-wax casting" method. In this process, flexible gelatin molds are made from the fragile wax originals. These gelatin molds are then used to make perfect wax replicas. These replicas are covered with a plaster like material, which is baked to form a hard mold. As the mold bakes, the wax melts and drains through vent holes in the mold. The melted "lost" wax is replaced by molten bronze. The bronze cools and forms a cast, which is then removed from the mold.

Our master bronzes are the foundry models, marked "modèle." They were used by the foundry to produce multiple editions of each subject. The foundry assigned a number to each subject and a letter to each cast.

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