Explore the Collection

European Painting and Sculpture

The Norton Simon Museum’s collection of European paintings and sculpture is among the most distinguished in North America. It spans the Renaissance to the 20th century and includes the finest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pictures on the West Coast. From intimate oil paintings to gold-ground altarpieces, the 15th-century European collection represents both North and South. Pictures by Botticelli, Giorgione and Raphael contribute to rich 16th-century Italian holdings. Baroque highlights of the 17th century include Zurbarán’s magisterial Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose and three portraits by Rembrandt. The Museum’s 18th-century collection ranges from Grand Tour views by Canaletto to Rococo decorations by Fragonard. Penetrating portraits by Goya, Ingres and Vigée-Lebrun round out the assembly of Old Masters.

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American Paintings and Sculpture

The Norton Simon Museum is home to a distinguished collection of American art from the 20th century. Early in his collecting, Norton Simon purchased a collage by Helen Frankenthaler, and would continue to collect works by Ronald Davis, Ed Ruscha, Josef Albers and Alexander Calder. In 1974, Simon took over the Pasadena Art Museum, merging its superb collection of American 20th-century art with his own and signaling the collection’s ascent to a position of prominence on the West Coast. With this one significant transaction, paintings by artists such as Lyonel Feininger, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin and Frank Stella carried Simon’s original core collection into the later 20th century. Sculptures by such formidable artists as Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, Dan Flavin and Carl Andre expand the range of the collection to include American modernism.

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South and Southeast Asian Paintings and Sculpture

The Norton Simon Museum houses a world-renowned collection of art from South and Southeast Asia that includes examples of the rich sculptural and painting traditions that developed in this region over the course of more than 2,000 years. Sculptures from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and Thailand are on permanent display, as are selected works from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The collection is particularly rich in art from the Indian subcontinent, including monumental stone sculpture from the Kushan and Gupta periods and a remarkable group of Chola bronzes from southern India. A selection of paintings from northern India is often on view, as are several thangkas, or Buddhist paintings on cloth, from Tibet and Nepal.

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Prints, Drawings and Photographs

Three innovative painter-printmakers anchor the collection of works on paper: Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso. Rare impressions and states exist among Rembrandt’s etchings and drypoints from all genres. Goya’s enormous graphic imagination is evidenced in multiple editions of Los Caprichos (1799), La Tauromaquia (1864) and Los Disparates (1864). Every phase of Picasso’s career as a printmaker is chronicled in a trove that includes illustrated books, “bon à tirer” lithographs and a fine selection of linocuts. A significant collection of black chalk drawings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard documents his first Italian sojourn, and a small series of drawings by Claude Lorrain round out the collection.

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In Focus

“In Focus” provides online visitors with a closer look at some of the most important artists and areas in the Museum collection. Rembrandt, Fragonard, Goya, Degas, Vuillard and Picasso are explored here in brief essays and, in many cases, videos discussing various individual works and how they came to reside in Pasadena.

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