Videos

Watch a selection of videos of Museum lectures, documentaries and artist interviews.


Lock, Stock & Barrel: Norton Simon’s Purchase of the Duveen Brothers Gallery

Chief Curator Carol Togneri narrates this fascinating story of Norton Simon’s purchase of the famed Duveen Brothers Gallery in 1964. Some of the most important artworks that came from that purchase are highlighted, as well as two paintings that are rarely on view due to their condition and questionable attribution. This video was created in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, on view at the Museum October 24, 2014 through April 27, 2015.

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The Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden

The autumn of 2014 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Museum’s sculpture garden designed by Nancy Goslee Power. This short video looks back at that exciting project, from Power’s inspirations and challenges, to the important role that the garden plays in the museum visitor experience.

Watch: The Norton Simon Museum Sculpture Garden: Small | Medium | Large


Face to Face with Judy Dater

Judy Dater contributed to photography’s break-out moment from Modernism in the 1960s. One of a handful of female photographers from that period, her compelling and insightful photographs established a new model in portraiture. In this video podcast, Curator Gloria Williams Sander interviews Dater in conjunction with the exhibition Face It: The Photographic Portrait and discusses Dater’s works and her approach to this genre.

Watch: Face to Face with Judy Dater: Small | Medium | Large


Video: Monumental

A Closer Look at the Norton Simon Museum’s Rare Thangka Future Buddha Maitreya Flanked by the Eighth Dalai Lama and His Tutor, Tibet, 1793-94
In this video podcast, Assistant Curator Melody Rod-ari discusses the history and production of the Norton Simon Museum’s rare, monumental thangka, Future Buddha Maitreya Flanked by the Eighth Dalai Lama and His Tutor. Assistant to the Director of Operations David Johnson then explains the efforts to install this extremely large, flat field painting in our galleries. This podcast was produced in conjunction with the exhibition “In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas,” on view March 28–August 25, 2014.

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Goya in the Norton Simon Museum

Curator Leah Lehmbeck gives a brief overview of the Norton Simon Museum’s collection of works by Spanish master Francisco de Goya.

Watch: Goya in the Norton Simon Museum: Small | Medium | Large


Video: Powdered Pigments: A Focus on Pastels in the Norton Simon Museum

Curator Leah Lehmbeck takes a look at the Norton Simon’s exceptional collection of 19th-century pastels, focusing on Degas’s mastery of the medium, as well as examples by Forain and Toulouse-Lautrec. Created to mark the renovation of the Museum’s 19th-century art wing, the video showcases the Museum’s new pastel gallery, which was designed to best display these fine and delicate works of art.

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Video: Learning to Look at Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum

In this video podcast, Assistant Curator Melody Rod-ari and Head of Education Lynn LaBate provide an introduction to the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain artworks in the Museum’s collection. Rod-ari and LaBate discuss how the important symbols found in these works can help visitors better understand their history and the stories they tell.

Watch: Video: Learning to Look at Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Dan Flavin: Maximalism

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of LACMA, first became acquainted with Dan Flavin both personally and professionally while working on the interior installation illuminating the reopening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1992. In this lecture, to coincide with the installation of the artist's "monument" on the survival of Mrs. Reppin, Mr. Govan discusses Flavin’s career, arguing that it was anything but minimal.

Watch: Lecture: Dan Flavin: Maximalism: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Van Gogh under the Microscope: Investigating the "Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"You’ll shortly make the acquaintance of Mr. Patience Escalier," wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo from Arles, in the south of France, on August 18, 1888, "a sort of man with a hoe, an old Camargue oxherd, who’s now a gardener at a farmstead in the Crau." Van Gogh’s depiction of a working man was not new to the artist; while living in Nuenen in Holland four years earlier, he had painted approximately fifty studies of peasant heads. Within that short time frame, the artist’s extraordinary talent becomes apparent in this painting of Mr. Escalier, in which he captures depth of character through color and technique. Devi Ormond, Associate Paintings Conservator, and Lauren Bradley, Assistant Conservator, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, focus on their recent technical examination carried out at the Getty Museum on the Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), revealing it to be a work of art created through careful thought and deliberate choices, qualities not often associated with Van Gogh.

Watch: Lecture: Van Gogh under the Microscope: Investigating the "Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)": Small | Medium | Large


Video: Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture

Curator Leah Lehmbeck examines how the great sculptors of the 20th century were influenced by Constantin Brancusi and how sculpture moved from being a self-contained, three-dimensional object to one that engages with its surrounding space as presented in the exhibition “Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture,” on view April 26, 2013–January 6, 2014.

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Lecture: "Dear Theo, Thank you for the paints": Van Gogh's Choice of Materials and Some Unforeseen Changes

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Vincent van Gogh’s extensive correspondence with his brother Theo offers remarkable insight into the artist’s working technique and selection of materials. Not only did he request packages with specific paints and types of canvas supports, but he also described the brushes he used, his preferences for certain frames and the intended presentation of his pictures. Van Gogh was keenly aware of the quality of artists’ materials, and he discussed the potential advantages and disadvantages of one color over another. Ann Hoenigswald, Senior Conservator of Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, examines these choices and how they affect the appearance of Van Gogh’s paintings today.

Watch: Lecture: "Dear Theo, Thank you for the paints": Van Gogh's Choice of Materials and Some Unforeseen Changes: Small | Medium | Large


“monument” on the survival of Mrs. Reppin

In this video podcast, Curatorial Associate Tom Norris discusses “monument” on the survival of Mrs. Reppin, an artwork by American artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996). On display for the first time at the Museum since its acquisition in the late 1960s, “monument” has all of the characteristics that make an artwork by Flavin so recognizable-the materials, the engagement with the exhibition space and the idea of a corner icon. Norris provides an in-depth overview of this dramatic artwork’s history, shedding light on its unique title and why it had never before been on view at the Museum. “monument” on the survival of Mrs. Reppin is on view March 8 through August 19, 2013.

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Lecture: From Mirror to Canvas: Van Gogh's Processes of Self-Portrayal

Saturday, February 2, 2013
Over the course of four years (1886–90), Vincent van Gogh, a committed portraitist, made about three dozen images of himself. Although each is grounded in what the artist saw as he regarded himself in the mirror, these works are not mere records of physical appearance, Judy Sund, Professor of Art History, the Graduate Center and Queens College, CUNY, explains. Van Gogh’s self-portraits also document processes of self-exploration and self-definition, and they give tangible form to some of the diverse personas the artist crafted (for sibling, parent, colleague, friend). Widely varied in palette and technique, as well as in props, costuming and backdrops, Van Gogh’s self-portraits reveal shifts in his ambitions, enthusiasms, health and mental state, as well as the evolution of his style as he encountered the Parisian avant-garde and went on to forge his signature style in Arles and St.-Rémy.

Watch: Lecture: From Mirror to Canvas: Van Gogh's Processes of Self-Portrayal: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Degas's Most Radical Sculpture: New Thoughts on "The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen"

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Despite its international celebrity, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen remains an enigmatic object whose origin in Degas’s larger creative practice has rarely been analyzed. While this work is a remarkable technical achievement for an untrained sculptor, new research reveals that it also emerged from profoundly original thinking about perception and visual experience. As Richard Kendall, Curator at Large, Clark Art Institute, explains, Degas proved to be among the most innovative individuals of his age, anticipating the achievements of photography and film, and even the multidimensional art of our own times.

Watch: Lecture: Degas's Most Radical Sculpture: New Thoughts on "The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen": Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Collecting and Still Life in Early Modern Europe

Saturday, September 8, 2012
Still-life paintings have always had a complex relationship with collecting. They are objects for art collectors, but they can also represent collections, both real and fictive. Dr. Anne Goldgar, Department of History, King’s College London, explores the relationships between material culture and collecting, the fashion for collecting and the desire to represent collections of objects in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Watch: Lecture: Collecting and Still Life in Early Modern Europe: Small | Medium | Large


Documentary: A Centennial Celebration: The Life of Norton Simon

The year 2007 marked the centennial of museum founder Norton Simon’s birth. To celebrate the occasion, the Norton Simon Museum transformed one of its galleries into a graphic timeline that recounted the life and work of Mr. Simon. This presentation, called A Centennial Celebration, is now available on the Museum’s website in the form of an 11-minute video, featuring interviews with former employees and rarely seen photographs from the Museum’s archives. This informative video provides insight into Mr. Simon’s many accomplishments in the business and art worlds.

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A Closer Look at Tapestries in the Norton Simon Collection

In this video podcast, Curator Gloria Williams Sander speaks with textile conservator Stan Derelian about the Museum’s collection of eight tapestries from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Shot during Derelian’s recent survey of the collection, the podcast delves into the tremendous care and attention to detail that went into creating the works, their remarkable condition, and best practices for caring for such works. Sander vividly describes the scenes and stories depicted in several of these sumptuous works of art.

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Video: Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life

Curator Gloria Williams Sander explores the wealth of aesthetic and conceptual artistic strategies employed in the still life genre. Once thought of as simply an art of imitation, still life has attracted artists for centuries, and indeed continues to be an important vehicle of expression. This podcast was produced in conjunction with the exhibition “Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life,” on view from July 20, 2012 – January 21, 2013.

Watch: Video: Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life: Small | Medium | Large


Lessons of the Cherry Blossom: Japanese Woodblock Prints

Assistant Curator Melody Rod-ari examines the hypnotic beauty and rich symbolism of the cherry blossom in Japanese art and culture, as presented in the exhibition “Lessons of the Cherry Blossom: Japanese Woodblock Prints”, on view April 20 – September 3, 2012. Organized in honor of the centennial of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C., “Lessons of the Cherry Blossom” features prints by such artists as Utagawa Hiroshige, Totoya Hokkei, Katsushika Hokusai and Chōbunsai Eishi.

Watch: Lessons of the Cherry Blossom: Japanese Woodblock Prints: Small | Medium | Large


Video: Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California

Associate Curator Leah Lehmbeck narrates this short documentary on how the printmaking community of Southern California was born and fostered, from the printmaking societies of the early 20th century, to June Wayne’s triumphant founding of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1960, to the many print studios created by Wayne’s protégées. This podcast was produced in conjunction with the catalogue and exhibition Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California, on view October 1, 2011 through April 2, 2012.

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Lecture: Vermeer’s Women: Discreet Objects of Desire

Saturday, July 9, 2011
In this lecture, held in conjunction with the loan of Vermeer’s Woman with a Lute from the Metropolitan Museum, Walter Liedtke, Curator of European Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art, focuses on the diverse women in Vermeer’s paintings and considers what they meant to the artist, as subjects in Dutch art and society, and as reflections of his distinctive approach to visual experience. It could be said that Vermeer engaged in an intellectual (although strongly felt) voyeurism, since many of his women are idealized objects of male desire, enthralling but beyond reach. The theme was well suited to Vermeer’s style, which defined intimate spaces in mostly optical terms. The viewer is unable to enter the space or touch the objects, but he—and a man is surely assumed—can also not escape the hypnotic vision.

Watch: Lecture: Vermeer’s Women: Discreet Objects of Desire: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Ancient Forms, Modern Copies: The Limits of Connoisseurship

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Museums, art historians and collectors are forever dealing with the problem of modern copies of ancient works of art. Such copies, once displayed and published as authentic, then become standards by which other objects are judged and thereby risk gravely misrepresenting the art-historical record. This illustrated lecture focuses on the complex issue of forgeries by examining workshops in India and Southeast Asia that produce artworks in “ancient styles.” Dr. Donald Stadtner, author of "Ancient Pagan" and "Sacred Sites of Burma" also discusses the ways in which enthusiasts and collectors of Asian art can spot modern copies.

Watch: Ancient Forms, Modern Copies: The Limits of Connoisseurship: Small | Medium | Large


Surface Truths: Abstract Painting in the Sixties

Curator Gloria Williams Sander examines the Museum’s eye-catching, large-scale paintings by such artists as Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland and Ralph Humphrey as presented in the exhibition Surface Truths: Abstract Painting in the Sixties, on view March 25 through August 15, 2011.

Watch: Surface Truths: Abstract Painting in the Sixties: Small | Medium | Large


Raphael’s “The Small Cowper Madonna” on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Produced in conjunction with the rare loan of Raphael's The Small Cowper Madonna, c. 1505, from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., this video podcast examines the remarkable yet brief career of Italian artist Raphael (1483–1520). Norton Simon Museum Chief Curator Carol Togneri narrates this beautifully illustrated video, paying special attention to The Small Cowper Madonna and the Museum’s own painting by Raphael Madonna and Child with Book.

Watch: Raphael’s “The Small Cowper Madonna”: Small | Medium | Large


Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel: An Artwork by John Cage

Curatorial Assistant Tom Norris discusses Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, an artwork by American composer and artist John Cage (1912–1992). Created in 1969 as a tribute to artist Marcel Duchamp, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel is a multiple comprised of five components: four Plexigrams and one lithograph, all with randomly placed text and images. This innovative work, with its captivating construction and endless interpretation by the viewer, is featured in the exhibition Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel: An Artwork by John Cage on view September 24, 2010 through March 28, 2011.

Watch: Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel: An Artwork by John Cage: Small | Medium | Large


Hiroshige: Visions of Japan

Curator Christine Knoke provides a brief overview of the life and career of Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), whose woodblock prints are featured in the exhibition Hiroshige: Visions of Japan, on view at the Norton Simon Museum from June 4, 2010 through January 17, 2011.

Watch: Hiroshige: Visions of Japan: Small | Medium | Large


Outside the Box: Portraiture after Ingres

Saturday, March 13, 2010
In 1867, the year of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s immense memorial exhibition, portraiture reached its apogee in France. At this same moment, however, the genre was making its most significant and lasting shift away from its traditions. Taken up by the Impressionists and continued by masters such as Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp and Warhol, the conventions of portraiture were undermined, challenged, subverted and silenced—and yet simultaneously reinforced by these avant-garde artists. Leah Lehmbeck, Assistant Curator at the Norton Simon Museum, traces these changes in the genre from the mid-19th century to the present day.

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Video: Sam Francis and the Basel Murals

This short video provides a brief background on California artist Sam Francis (1923–1994) and his monumental triptych, the Basel Murals, painted in Paris in the late 1950s. His Basel Mural I was donated to the Museum in 1967, and Fragments 1 and 2 of Basel Mural III, which was partially destroyed in the mid-1960s, were donated to the Museum in 2009 by the Sam Francis Foundation. Features Debra Burchett-Lere, Director of the Sam Francis Foundation, and Leah Lehmbeck, Assistant Curator of the Norton Simon Museum.

Watch: Sam Francis and the Basel Murals: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: The Fashion for Ingres

Saturday, November 14, 2009
Aileen Ribeiro, the Oak Foundation Professor in the History of Dress at the Courtald Institute, examines the often-complex views Ingres had with regard to fashion during his long career; though he had a traditional bias toward history painting and allegory, he nevertheless became one of the supreme artists of clothing during the rise of haute couture and the cult of the designer in mid-19th-century Paris.

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Lecture: Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville

Saturday, November 7, 2009
Edgar Munhall, curator emeritus at The Frick Collection and one of the world's leading scholars of Ingres, discusses the importance of the comtesse’s portrait within Ingres's long, multi-faceted career and introduces the artist’s little-known subject, Louise d'Haussonville, as one of the most remarkable women of her time.

Watch: Ingres and the Comtesse d'Haussonville: Small | Medium | Large


Video: The Restoration of Francisco de Zurbarán's "Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose"

This nearly seven-minute video provides a detailed look at how the Norton Simon's spectacular 17th-century painting, "Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose" by Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán, was carefully restored in 2008 by Mark Leonard, Head of Paintings Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Watch: The Restoration: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: The Intimate Interior: Vermeer and His Contemporaries

Saturday, January 31, 2009
The intriguingly subtle portrayals of women in interiors, engaged in private pursuits, are among the most compelling images produced in 17th-century Netherlands. Executed in luminous color, these scenes of love and amusement among the privileged classes encapsulate many of the signature achievements of Dutch painting: refined technique, convincing illusionism and spatial construction, mastery of light as well as sophisticated moral and social themes. Anne T. Woollett, Associate Curator, Department of Paintings, The J. Paul Getty Museum, considers Vermeer's innovative approach in A Lady Writing and other works in the context of the visual rivalries and artistic exchanges between contemporary masters of private genre subjects, including Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu and Frans van Mieris.

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Lecture: Vermeer's Painting Techniques: Time Stilled and Light Made Tangible

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Vermeer's paintings suggest that time has been momentarily stopped, giving the viewer leisure to explore his light-filled rooms and contemplate his pensive figures. Technical study of Vermeer's materials and methods has revealed painting practices the artist developed to achieve these luminous effects, and artistic choices he made to create a timeless and self-contained world. Melanie Gifford, Scientific Research Department, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., explores A Lady Writing in the context of Vermeer's techniques throughout his career, illustrated with close details and microscopic images of the paintings that give a new view of his extraordinary gifts.

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Lecture: What Makes a Vermeer a Vermeer? Searching for Clues in the Conservation Lab

Saturday, November 8, 2008
As in A Lady Writing, Vermeer’s paintings have a visual power that draws the viewer into a world that seems both momentary and lasting. Arthur Wheelock, Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, examines the way in which Vermeer carefully manipulated effects of light, color and perspective to enhance the physical and emotional content of his paintings. Technical examinations, including X-rays and infrared reflectography, add new dimensions to our understanding of the fascinating creative process that underlies his masterpieces.

Watch: What Makes a Vermeer a Vermeer?: Small | Medium | Large


Lecture: Body Matters: Marcel Duchamp, Surrealism and the Making of Étant Donnés

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Marcel Duchamp began work on his diorama-like assemblage when he was actively involved in Surrealist exhibition design and closely aligned with the aims and ideals of André Breton's exiled group in New York. Michael Taylor, Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, examines Duchamp's final work, titled Étant donnés, 1946?66, now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, within the context of Surrealism.

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An Interview with Dina Vierny, Model and Muse to Aristide Maillol

Late in his life, artist Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944) worked very closely with Dina Vierny, who over the course of ten years posed for many of Maillol’s famous sculptures, including those that grace the garden of the Norton Simon Museum. This interview with Vierny, who served as president of the Musée Maillol in Paris until her death in January 2009, was filmed in the summer of 2007, and offers a rare glimpse into Madame Vierny’s association with Maillol, as well as the story of Norton Simon’s interest in Maillol’s artworks.

Watch: An Interview with Dina Vierny: Small | Medium | Large