Norton Simon Museum

Museum in Pasadena & the San Gabriel Valley

Our Review

Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais standing guard by the entrance is only a mind-teasing overture to the full symphony of art in store at this exquisite museum. Norton Simon (1907–93) was an entrepreneur with a Midas touch and a passion for art who parlayed his millions into an admirable collection of Western art and Asian sculpture. Meaty captions really help tell each piece's story.

The accessible, user-friendly galleries teem with choice works by Renaissance and impressionist artists, including Rembrandt (eg Self-Portrait), Renoir (Young Woman in Black), Canaletto (Piazzetta in Venice Looking North) and Van Gogh portraits, as well as an outstanding array of paintings and sculpture by Degas. Twentieth-century masterpieces span Picasso and LA's own Sam Francis.

Asian sculpture – principally Buddhist and Hindu imagery in stone, bronze and copper – is in the basement, while Western sculpture graces the gorgeous garden inspired by Monet’s garden at Giverny, France.

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