Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena

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No doubt I’m repeating myself but once again I have discovered an amazing place, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.  Yes, that meant battling the traffic and the summer heat but it was worth it.  There were so many wonderful paintings!  Early Van Gogh, lots of Degas and a ton of other Impressionists.  There were 20th century artists as well.  It was simply marvelous.  I knew I was going to have a good time when I entered the gallery and the first painting I saw was this Van Gogh.

Van Gogh's Winter in the Vicarage Garden

Winter in the Vicarage Garden Under Snow

I love this early period and his “winter” paintings.  Yes, Arles may be more fashionable but give me the early stuff.  The sign at the right remarks on whether the man is shoveling snow or digging a grave.  It could be either.  Vincent was certainly a troubled man.

Edgar Degas dominated the gallery area for Impressionism and why not?  There is so much to choose from.  His paintings and his sculpture were on display.  There was one tiny alcove filled with his work.  His bronzes greet visitors as they enter the main section of the gallery.

Degas bronze sculptures in 19th and 20th century gallery

Degas bronze sculptures in 19th and 20th century gallery

The Museum opens at noon during the week so I was there promptly because I knew I would want to leave no later than 3:00.  Traffic going east out of Pasadena can be a horrendously slow and to stay any later would mean sitting in gridlock.  I only had time to visit the 19th and 20th century gallery.  But there is more to  see.  In addition to western art of the Renaissance and the 17-18th Centuries, there is also an impressive collection of South and Southeast Asian Art.

South and Southeast Asian Collection, Norton Simon Museum

The promise of more to come

For all these artistic splendors there was one odd thing.  The entrance to the museum is lined with the sculpture of Rodin and inside there were men in suits standing about still as statues.  Were they real?  Yes, a second look confirmed that they were human.  They were museum security.  There are people in suits stationed every few feet.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  It must be a weird and tiring job.

Degas bronzes with security men in the background

Suited men guard the entrance located just beyond the bronzes

In the image above there are two visitors and at least three security men in the entrance area.

Well, even if “suits” dominate the hallways I plan to go back.  The paintings and sculpture were terrific.  Where else am I going to see these things?  Certainly not out here in the boondocks.


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