Lecture: “A sum of destructions”: Norton Simon Collects Picasso

Emily A. Beeny, Associate Curator, Norton Simon Museum
Saturday, October 29, 4:00 p.m.

“In my case,” Picasso once remarked, “a painting is a sum of destructions.” These words summarize the artist’s relentless pursuit of change, progress, refinement. And, of Picasso’s many aphorisms, this one was Norton Simon’s favorite. He often quoted it in reference not only to the artist’s work but also to his own career as a collector. Like Picasso in his studio, Mr. Simon built up and pared down, amassing vast holdings and then refining them to the extraordinary group of paintings, sculpture and works on paper today housed at the Museum. He acquired more works of art by Picasso than by any other artist except Goya—885 in all, of which 734 today belong to the Museum and Foundations. This lecture will explore Mr. Simon’s Picassos and their role in the broader story of his collections.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition States of Mind: Picasso Lithographs 1945–1960.