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Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper by Sam Francis

April 08, 2016 - July 25, 2016


    Sam Francis (American, 1923–1994), Untitled, 1961, Ink on paper, Norton Simon MuPasadena, CA
    —The Norton Simon Museum presents Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper by Sam Francis, an exhibition that features the artist’s drawings of erotica and the female nude, many on view for the first time. While Francis is renowned for abstract, atmospheric and vigorously colored paintings on a grand scale, these intimate drawings—meditations made visible—in pen and ink, acrylic and watercolor, show viewers a rarely-seen figurative aspect of his oeuvre. Dynamic but little known, this body of work ranges from line drawings of the 1950s to gestural brushstrokes of the 1980s and resonates with significant moments in the artist’s life.

    A native of California, Sam Francis (1923–1994) was drafted into the military in 1943 while still a student at UC Berkeley. During Army Air Corp training, he suffered a severe injury that led to a four-year hospitalization. In the midst of his confinement, Francis took up painting and quickly realized he had a passion and a talent for it. In 1950, he departed for Paris, ready to experience life to the fullest, in a new culture, while finding his way as an artist. The vibrant, sensual colors of French art, palpable in the work of Monet and Matisse, stimulated his own predilection for bright, intense colors. A youthful vitality emanates from these erotic drawings of the mid-1950s. The figures, shown in sexual embrace, float in the space of the paper, akin to the islands of color that occupy his paintings. Evident from the works’ calligraphic character is Francis’s early interest in Japanese art and aesthetics, specifically makura-e, or “pillow pictures,” which he is known to have collected.

    By the end of the decade, Francis had become the first American postwar painter to win serious acclaim in Europe. Courted by major dealers, collectors and museum curators, he was exhibiting his work on two continents and in four countries. In 1958, he completed the monumental triptych known as the Basel Mural for the Kunsthalle in Basel, Switzerland (one panel and two fragments from a second panel are part of the Simon collections). But illness struck Francis in 1961, necessitating another hospitalization for most of the year in Bern, Switzerland. Perhaps the amorous couples that Francis drew while he was bedridden suggest the weight of this new setback. In contrast to the nimble figures of his work in the 1950s, the massive forms in these works hover between abstraction and figuration and swell to the edges of the paper as though struggling against its bonds.

    The colossal energy that suffused the artist’s abstract paintings informed his frank, and sometimes provocative, depictions of the female nude from the 1980s. During these productive years in California (where he would marry his fifth wife and welcome a son), he employed the brush with a strength and vigor matched by his new passion for creating monotypes. The pigment trickles and twists across the paper. Splashes of paint confirm the physicality of the artist wielding his brush. The generative, sensual impulse found in his paintings invigorates these drawings and offers reason enough for their existence.

    Francis once said that “each painting is like my body print, taken at different moments of my life.”  This sentiment is germane to the works displayed in Drawing, Dreaming and Desire, which, because of their intimate nature, provide insight into his psyche. His sustained attention to line, its descriptive and decorative power, offered a counterbalance to his abstractions, an aesthetic release for an artist whose public acclaim centered on the diffused surfaces of his bold abstractions.

    Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper by Sam Francis is organized by Curator Gloria Williams Sander. The seventeen works presented in the exhibition are part of a larger donation of the artist’s drawings by the Sam Francis Foundation in 2012, and this exhibition is the first opportunity for the public to see them. It is on view in the Museum’s small rotating gallery on the main level from Friday, April 8 through Monday, July 25, 2016. 

    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit pasadenatransit.net for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.

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Duchamp to Pop

March 04, 2016 - August 29, 2016


    Pasadena, CA
    —The Norton Simon Museum presents Duchamp to Pop, an exhibition that examines Marcel Duchamp’s potent influence on Pop Art and its leading artists, among them Andy Warhol, Jim Dine and Ed Ruscha. Approximately 40 artworks from the Museum’s exceptional collection of 20th-century art, along with a handful of loans, are brought together to pay tribute to the creative genius of Duchamp and demonstrate his resounding impact on a select group of artists born half a century later. The exhibition also presents materials from the archives of the Pasadena Art Museum (which later became the Norton Simon Museum) that pertain to two seminal exhibitions there—New Painting of Common Objects from 1962 and Marcel Duchamp Retrospective from 1963.

    Marcel Duchamp
    In 1916, Duchamp (1887–1968) wrote to his sister, “I purchased this as a sculpture already made.” The artist was referring to his Bottlerack, and with this description he redefined what constituted a work of art. The readymade was born.

    The original Bottlerack was an unassisted readymade, meaning that it was not altered physically by the artist. The bottle rack was a functional object manufactured for the drying of glass bottles. Duchamp purchased it from a department store in Paris and brought the bottle rack into the art world to alter its meaning. The act of choosing a readymade allowed Duchamp to, as he said in a 1953 interview, “reduce the idea of aesthetic consideration to the choice of the mind, not to the ability or cleverness of the hand.” Thus, Duchamp privileged the artist’s concept and intent over the details of form.

    In 1963, at the prompting of Pasadena Art Museum Director Thomas Leavitt, Curator Walter Hopps embarked on what was to become Duchamp’s first major museum retrospective. A self-described “Duchamp addict,” Hopps had first met the artist in 1949 through Los Angeles-based art collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg. After establishing the Ferus Gallery and promoting the local avant-garde, Hopps arrived at the Pasadena Art Museum well prepared to tackle this ambitious paean to Duchamp, one that would necessitate loans from private collections and art institutions, as well as the re-fabrication of several lost works.

    Duchamp’s persistence and intellectual approach, his definition of the everyday object as art and his sense of wit and irony established him as the forefather of conceptual art. He was quintessential to many of the stylistic movements of the latter half of the 20th century, including Pop Art, a moniker derived from the essence of “popular culture.” His retrospective in Pasadena, at the age of 76, garnered critical attention and praise, and brought him into the sphere of many of the young artists who revered him.

    Pop Art
    From the mid-1950s forward, Pop Art emerged as a response to the post-war acceleration of production and consumerism, and it became the predominant art movement of the 1960s. An inundation of media imagery and advertising led artists to reflect on the world as it was being marketed to them. At first glance, Pop Art can be seen as the antithesis of conceptual art, but below its slick surface, it is a thoughtful, occasionally flippant, critique of commerce and advertising. The use and depiction of everyday items allowed Pop artists to challenge the nature of marketing, explore identity representation and counter the heavy-handed emotional intensity of previous generations, such as the Abstract Expressionists.

    By the early 1960s, Pop Art had made its way into modern art galleries, but had yet to be recognized in the hallowed halls of museums. Then, in 1962, one year prior to the Duchamp retrospective, Hopps organized New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum. Widely regarded as the first Pop Art exhibition in a museum, it brought together works by Dine (b. 1935), Robert Dowd (1936–1996), Joe Goode (b. 1937), Phillip Hefferton (1933–2008), Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), Ruscha (b. 1937), Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) and Warhol (1928–1987). On view from just Sept. 25 through Oct. 19, 1962, the highly influential exhibition marked a turning point for the movement (the term Pop Art was deliberately kept out of the show’s title) and for many of the young artists featured.

    Duchamp to Pop
    While not a recreation of either of these two exhibitions, Duchamp to Pop features 13 Duchamp works, most of which were part of the retrospective, along with the Duchamp-designed exhibition poster. These pieces (including a replica of his 1914 Bottlerack) are installed together with iconic works by all eight of the artists who were featured in the New Painting exhibition, as well as other pivotal Pop artists. (The exhibition poster from that show, designed by Ruscha, is also featured.) Shown side-by-side, the artworks vividly illustrate the connections between these two generations of artists. Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. or La Joconde, a common postcard of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa on whose face he drew a mustache, stares across at Warhol’s Jacqueline Kennedy II (Jackie II), a silkscreen of the grieving first lady at her husband’s funeral. These two famous faces, considered icons of feminine beauty, demonstrate both artists’ fascination with identity and popular culture.    

    Duchamp to Pop is organized by Curatorial Associate Tom Norris. The exhibition is on view March 4 through Aug. 29, 2016, in the Museum’s lower-level exhibition gallery. A series of related events, including lectures, films, tours and performances, will be offered. More information is available at nortonsimon.org. 


    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit cityofpasadena.net/artsbus for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.

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Tragic Romance Film Series

February 03, 2016 - February 27, 2016

    Four films exploring the tragedy of love to screen every Wednesday and Friday throughout the month of February

    Pasadena, CA—The theme of love and loss is dominant in both art and film. Throughout the Norton Simon collections, from Modigliani’s Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne (1918) to the 18th-century Indian painting Shirin Mourning Farhad’s Death, tragic romance is evident. The Norton Simon Museum presents a film series that explores this theme, with screenings in the Museum’s theater on Wednesday afternoons and Friday evenings throughout February. Films are free with admission; no reservations are needed. General public inquiries can be directed to [email protected].

    Wednesday, February 3, 2:00–3:30 p.m. and 
    Friday, February 5, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
    Brief Encounter (1945), NR
    Directed by David Lean
    After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Trevor Howard) and a suburban housewife (Celia Johnson) enter into a muted but passionate, ultimately doomed, love affair. With its evocatively fog-enshrouded setting, swooning Rachmaninoff score, and pair of remarkable performances, David Lean’s film of Noël Coward’s play Still Life deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2:00–4:20 p.m. and
    Friday, February 12, 5:30–7:50 p.m.
    Romeo and Juliet (1968), PG
    Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
    In the city of Verona, the Montague and the Capulet families are perpetually feuding. When Romeo (Leonard Whiting), a handsome young Montague, disregards convention by attending a Capulet ball, he falls in love with the beautiful Juliet (Olivia Hussey), a Capulet. After a brief courtship, the two elope, creating even greater tension between their families. Italian director Franco Zeffirelli’s film is considered one of the best screen versions of Shakespeare’s classic love story.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2:00–3:45 p.m. and
    Friday, February 19, 5:30–7:15 p.m.
    The Earrings of Madame de . . . (1953), NR
    Directed by Max Ophüls
    The Earrings of Madame de . . . is a profoundly emotional, cinematographically adventurous tale of deceptive opulence and tragic romance. When an aristocratic woman known only as Madame de . . . (Danielle Darrieux) sells a pair of earrings given to her by her husband (Charles Boyer) in order to pay some debts, she sets off a chain reaction of financial and carnal consequences that can end only in despair. Director Max Ophüls’s adaptation of Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin-de-siècle novel employs to ravishing effect the elegant and precise camera work for which the director is so justly renowned. In French, with English subtitles. 

    Wednesday, February 24, 2:00–3:40 p.m. and
    Friday, February 26, 5:30–7:10 p.m.
    Ugetsu (1953), NR
    Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
    In 16th-century Japan, peasants Genjuro (Masayuki Mori) and Tobei (Sakae Ozawa) sell their earthenware pots to a group of soldiers in a nearby village, in defiance of a local sage’s warning against seeking to profit from warfare. Genjuro’s pursuit of both riches and the mysterious Lady Wakasa (Machiko Kyo), as well as Tobei’s desire to become a samurai, run the risk of destroying both themselves and their wives, Miyagi (Kinuyo Tanaka) and Ohama (Mitsuko Mito). Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this haunting tale of love and loss exquisitely blends the otherworldly and the real. In Japanese, with English subtitles.

    ADMISSION: All screenings are free with Museum admission. Admission is $12.00 for adults; $9.00 for seniors; and free for Museum members, students with I.D., and everyone age 18 and under. For more information, call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org.

    WHERE: Norton Simon Museum | 411 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena; located on the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways | Parking at the Norton Simon Museum is free.


    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit cityofpasadena.net/artsbus for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.

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Winter Exhibitions and Events

January 01, 2016 - March 31, 2016

    Pasadena, CA—The Norton Simon Museum announces its winter season of events and exhibitions. Unless otherwise stated, all events are free with admission. Tickets for ensured seating for lectures and concerts are distributed in the main entrance gallery one hour prior to event. Members enjoy early seating.

    Highlights of the season include the performance Mostly Made in America, the film series Tragic Romance and A Night in Focus: Duchamp to Pop

    Plus the opening of the exhibition Duchamp to Pop

    Please click here, or on on the PDF at the right, to view the complete winter schedule. 

     


    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday.Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit cityofpasadena.net/artsbus for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.

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Norton Simon Museum Announces 2016 Exhibition Schedule

January 01, 2016 - December 31, 2016


    Pasadena, CA—The Norton Simon Museum is delighted to share its exhibition schedule for 2016. Information is subject to change. Please contact us to confirm before publishing.

    Duchamp to Pop
    March 4–August 29, 2016

    Many of the twentieth century’s greatest artists were influenced by one pivotal figure: Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968). Duchamp to Pop uses the Norton Simon Museum’s collection and rich archives from two seminal exhibitions—New Painting of Common Objects from 1962 and Marcel Duchamp Retrospective from 1963—to illustrate Duchamp’s potent influence on Pop Art and the artists Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha and others.

     

    Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Works on Paper by Sam Francis
    April 8–July 25, 2016

    Drawing, Dreaming and Desire presents works on paper that explore the subject of erotica by the internationally acclaimed artist Sam Francis (1923–1994). Renowned for his abstract, atmospheric and vigorously colored paintings, these intimate drawings—thoughts made visible, in pen and ink, acrylic and watercolor—relate to the genre of erotic art long practiced by artists in the West and the East. They resonate with significant moments in the artist’s biography, and reveal another aspect of his creative energy. This highly spirited but little known body of work, which ranges from the line drawings of the 1950s to the gestural, calligraphic brushstrokes of the 1980s, provides insight to a deeply personal side of the artist’s creative oeuvre.

     

    Dark Visions: Mid-Century Macabre
    September 2, 2016–January 16, 2017

    The twentieth century produced some of the most distinctive, breakthrough art movements: Surrealism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and Minimalism. Many modern and contemporary artists, however, eluded classification, and created works of art that addressed their own inner turmoil or explored dark and sometimes sinister subject matter. Dark Visions: Mid-Century Macabre presents works by Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, George Herms, Edward Kienholz and others that allow viewers to mine the shadowy recesses of artistic endeavor.

     

    States of Mind: Picasso Prints from the Norton Simon Collection
    October 14, 2016–February 13, 2017

    By the mid-1940s, Pablo Picasso had reached what he called “the moment... when the movement of my thought interests me more than the thought itself.” This new interest in “movement”—the process or evolution of an artistic statement—found its most remarkable expression in Picasso’s practice as a printmaker. Where oil paintings inevitably covered their tracks, concealing the process of their making, prints promised to record their own development through sequential stages, charting the movement of their maker’s thoughts from state to state. Drawing on the Norton Simon Museum’s extraordinary collection of Picasso proofs and prints—one of the deepest in North America—this exhibition traces the evolution of individual compositions from the 1940s and 1950s through multiple states, subtle adjustments and radical revisions.


    Image Credits, top to bottom
    : Marcel Duchamp, Self-Portrait in Profile, 1959, Color Screenprint, Edition of 40, Deluxe edition published by La Hune, Paris, Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. John Coplans in homage to Mr. Walter Hopps, © Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Sam Francis, Untitled, 1961, ink on paper, Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Sam Francis Foundation; Kurt Schwitters, Lust Murder Box No. 2, 1920-1922, Inlaid exotic wood box (crafted by Albert Schulze, Hannover), Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Kate Steinitz, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Pablo Picasso, Head of Young Girl, November 5, 1945, Lithograph, unique impression before 1st state, The Norton Simon Foundation, © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

     


    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit cityofpasadena.net/artsbus for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.

     

VuillardPastry ShopNews Full Size

Indoor/Outdoor: Vuillard’s Landscapes and Interiors

October 16, 2015 - February 15, 2016


    P
    asadena, CA
    —The Norton Simon Museum presents an exhibition of Paysages et Intérieurs (Landscapes and Interiors), Édouard Vuillard’s exquisite print album of 1899. The thirteen prints in the series—comprising views of parks, boulevards and cafés, scenes of domestic interiors, and an album cover—give us a glimpse of Vuillard’s Paris through a thicket of pattern and color. Financed and published by the avant-garde dealer Ambroise Vollard, Landscapes and Interiors was a commercial failure—20 years after its printing, Vollard had still not sold out the original edition of 100 sets. Today, however, individual prints from the series are so sought after that intact suites like the Norton Simon’s have become a rarity. The exhibition also marks the return of the artist’s monumental First Fruits, also from 1899, following its conservation work at the J. Paul Getty Museum and its subsequent loans to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Vuillard as Printmaker
    One of the most innovative artists in turn-of-the-century Paris, Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940) is best known for small-scale paintings of domestic interiors, populated by friends and family members and crowded with competing patterns: wallpapers, textiles, latticed windows. These patterns contribute to the emphatic flatness of his work, a sense that space recedes not into his pictures but up and across their surfaces, erecting a kind of screen or protective barrier between beholder and beheld.  Like many of his contemporaries, Vuillard became fascinated with Japanese woodblock prints and used the new medium of color lithography to mimic their coloristic effects. The single-color lithographic process, invented at the end of the 19th century, had transformed print-making and -marketing in modern Europe, allowing printers to pull large editions without wearing down the original matrix. By the turn of the 20th century, commercial advertising—circus posters, champagne ads, and so on—had driven the development of multi-color lithography, granting artists a new range of expressive possibilities in the medium.

    As in Japanese woodblock printing, each of Vuillard’s colors required a separately inked matrix. Hence, an image as richly colored as The Pastry Shop could require seven separate lithographic stones, inked and printed in precise sequence. To aid in this process, the artist turned to master printer Auguste Clot, who produced prints for such other members of the avant-garde as Bonnard, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch. In Landscapes and Interiors, Clot helped Vuillard achieve effects of unprecedented subtlety and virtuosity. Form and space are described with color alone, applied in transparent, overlapping layers: green laid down over yellow, red laid over pink, and so on.

    For all their technical sophistication, though, Vuillard’s prints describe an ordinary world, places and people intimately known by the artist: a sunny avenue bustling with pedestrians, the corner table of a café, Vuillard’s mother sitting by her kitchen stove, his friends intent on a game of checkers. Despite their cozy familiarity, these scenes grant us no access to the inner thoughts of those they portray. Vuillard’s approach, in the end, is perhaps less intimate than intensely private, veiling the world he describes in pattern and color.

    Vuillard’s First Fruits
    In the same year that he produced his intimate Landscapes and Interiors, Vuillard also completed two decorative panels for a private residence, one of which, First Fruits, is now part of the Norton Simon collection. Splendidly cleaned and conserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2014, First Fruits returns to the Norton Simon Museum this October, having spent the spring in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay and the summer at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it was reunited with its pendant (Landscape: Window Overlooking the Woods) for the first time in half a century. Portraying a landscape near the country house where Vuillard spent his summer holidays in 1899, the richly patterned surface and endlessly varied greens of First Fruits make it a kind of “verdure” as the artist called the picture; generally translated as “greenery,” the word carries an additional and more specific meaning in French, referring to a style of tapestry produced during the Renaissance. With vegetal borders and densely patterned leaves, First Fruits makes explicit reference to the verdure tradition and seems to have played the part of a tapestry in the room where it was first displayed: the private library of a Parisian townhouse.

    “Indoor/Outdoor: Vuillard’s Landscapes and Interiors” is organized by Associate Curator Emily A. Beeny. A series of events is organized in conjunction with the exhibition, including the lecture Vuillard’s First Fruits: Cleaning and Context by Beeny and Devi Ormond, Associate Paintings Conservator, J. Paul Getty Museum, on Saturday, November 7, at 4:00 p.m. More information is at www.nortonsimon.org. 


    About the Norton Simon Museum

    The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

    Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible.Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: The City of Pasadena provides a shuttle bus to transport passengers through the Pasadena Playhouse district, the Lake Avenue shopping district and Old Pasadena. A shuttle stop is located in front of the Museum. Please visit cityofpasadena.net/artsbus for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.