Who Was Norton Simon?

We seem to be going through a never-ending heat wave here in Los Angeles, so any free chance I get, I am in search of fun things to do indoors (aka–where there is a/c!), so last week I decided to venture over to The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena…


This photograph of Mr. Simon is one of the first framed pieces you see when you enter the gallery, & it got me thinking, who was Norton Simon?! Not only was he a brilliant businessman, beginning his journey at the height of The Great Depression, but he was also an avid art collector, thus, why this museum exists on Colorado Blvd with his namesake.

DSCF5929I am sure you have heard of Hunt-Wesson Foods, McCall’s Publishing, Canada Dry Corporation, Max Factor cosmetics, and Avis Car Rental? Well, those are just afew of the name brands that were under his corporation…..

DSCF5937From the museum’s web-site: “Norton Simon’s accomplishments as an art collector equaled his extraordinary achievements in business. Over a period of less than 30 years, he amassed what is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest private art collections. His interest in art began in the 1950s with the works of Degas, Renoir, Gauguin and Cézanne. In the 1960s he shaped a major art collection of Old Masters, Impressionists and Modern works which expanded in the 1970s to include Indian and Southeast Asian art.”

As a huge Picasso lover, this painting above is one of my favorites to see, & the detail when standing in front of this one below is breathtaking….

DSCF5911 (2)I was also interested to learn how Mr. Simon chose to create his second home in Pasadena, it seems by 1974, he began to seek a permanent home for his large collections. He welcomed an overture from the financially strapped Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, and ultimately assumed its leadership. Over the next year, as loan commitments to other museums ended, his artworks traveled to Pasadena. Norton Simon’s vast “museum without walls” began to assemble within walls for the first time. When he was stricken in 1984 with the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Mr. Simon refused to be defeated by the paralyzing illness and continued to oversee the Norton Simon Museum until his death in 1993.

DSCF5950If you visit, make sure not to miss the lovely gardens & sculptures that grace the out back, as well as their Garden Cafe. Despite the heat, I still enjoyed taking in the ambience to be enjoyed.

DSCF5922While they have beautiful art tracing back to nearly The 14th Century, I love that they manage to have a modern, eclectic feel, like the pieces above, too…

I hope you get a chance to visit The Norton Simon….check out their web-site here & if you do pop in, let me know as I live nearby! 😉 xo


About Along Comes Mary

Book Worm, Internet Nerd, Blogger, Daughter, Friend, Caffeine Addict, Non Smoker who sometimes smokes, Lover, Fighter, Ear with Feet, In Search of Bunbury, Gluten Free Pescatarian. Enough about me, what about YOU?;-)
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7 Responses to Who Was Norton Simon?

  1. We went to the Norton Simon on art night a few years ago–it’s such a nice museum! And that picture of him on the phone confirms that Norton Simon was a total boss:)

  2. I love museums…and you had me at Max Factor and AC. 🙂 haha. xoxo

  3. beverlydiehl says:

    Still on my to-do list, though I’ve gone to the Huntington and the Pacific Asia museum. Pasadena has great museums (and restaurants)!

  4. I have not been there since I was a kid, thanks for bringing it back to my attention! This is going on my list of places to visit!

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