Norton Simon Museum - Pasadena, CA

Assembly of Sea Forms (White Marbles) - Norton Simon Museum
Living in LA, it’s hard to stay indoors as the weather here is always sooo beautiful and sunny.  While LA has been having the Seattle rain as of late, it’s undoubtedly a perfect time to ditch the beach this weekend.  In my quest to find inspiration - somewhere other than outdoor activities, I visited the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.  The museum features an astonishing array of European, Asian, and American artworks, from paintings to sculptures.  

One of the most enchanting exhibitions is the "Matisse/Odalisque", which includes Matisse’s accentuation on the 19th-century Orientalist theme and Picasso’s abstract reflection of the female sexual slavery - including Matisse's Odalisque with Tambourine (1926) and Picasso's Women of Algiers, Version "I" (1955).  Gathering incredibly expressive painting techniques, the artists mingled abstract fantasy and social reality fluidly.  During the 19th-century Orientalism art movement, the odalisque symbolized a voyeuristic reflection of white males desiring the sexual subjugation of women of color.  These odalisque portraits depicted the undiscussed female sexual slavery during the French colonial period in Algeria.  The exhibition creatively portrays the social realities underlying race and sexism, especially of women of color.  While the paintings get me to ponder more deeply about the seductive aspect of women within the historical context, they perhaps provoke different interpretations in the contemporary frame as well.

Asides from the exhibition, my favorite wanders are the Renaissance artworks from the most talented Impressionists, including Édouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Georges-Pierre Seurat.  Extremely creative painting techniques, such as Monet’s “en plein-air” (painting outdoor), Degas’ pastels, Van Gogh’s impasto (thickly applied & textured paint), Seurat’s pointillism (placing tiny dots of colors), are all featured in the Impressionist movement.  Now I can’t merely describe these exquisite artistic creations with my plain words.  Hope you enjoy the virtual tour of resplendent art through my photographs!

Norton Simon Museum Main Entrance

Cedar Garden

Family Portrait (1670-75) - Jacob Ochtervelt 

Marriage at Cana (1676) - Jan Steen

(1740-42) Giovanni 

Dona Francisca Vicenta Chollet y Caballero (1806) - Goya 

The Triumph of Virtue and Nobility over Ignorance (1740-50) - Giovanni 

The Piazzetta, Venice, Looking North (1730s) - Giovanni 

Interior of St. Peter's, Rome (1735) - Giovanni 

Bacchante Supported by Bacchus and a Faun (1795) - Claude Michel

Madonna and Child with Book (1502-03) - Raphael 

Odalisque with Tambourine (Harmony in Blue) (1926) - Matisse 

Nude on a Sofa (1923) - Matisse

Women of Algiers, Version "I" (1955) - Picasso

Woman with a Book (1932) - Picasso 

Woman with a Guitar (1913) - Picasso  

Head of a Woman (1927) - Picasso

Open Green (1923) - Kandinsky

Portrait of a Seated Woman (1920s) - Grigoriev

The Stone Breaker, Le Raincy (1882) - Seurat

Mouth of the Sein at Honfleur (1865) - Claude Monet 

The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre (1867-68) - Monet

Vase of Flowers - Cezanne (Top) vs. Redon (Bottom)

At the Evening Party: Woman in White with a Fan (1883-84) - Forain

Winter (The Vicarage Garden under Snow) (1885) - Van Gogh

Still Life (1884) - Van Gogh

Head of a Peasant Woman in a White Bonnet (1885) - Van Gogh 

The Mulberry Tree (1889) - Van Gogh 

The Pitch Pine Room (1910) - Vuillard 

Woman Combing Her Hair before a Mirror (1870-1875) - Degas

Bronzed Sculpters by Degas 

Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera (reworked 1894) - Degas

The Laundress (1873) - Degas

Portrait of Madame Dietz-Monnin (1879) - Degas

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