Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trip to the Norton Simon



Last week my friend Aaron Mason and I went to do a little art watching at one of the nicest lil' art museums in Southern California. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is smallish but has some real beautiful work hanging in it's halls. I studied there a lot during my art school years, so I know all the paintings pretty well. They still give me ideas and inspiration, despite seeing them so many times. I've been going through a little bit of artists' block, and sometimes all it takes to get out of the funk is to see some work hanging in museums or galleries.

I don't remember all the artists' names, but I tried to take pictures of some of my favorite pieces. There is an awesome feature on the museum's web site that lets you zoom in on the paintings, so if you really want to check things out, go to http://www.nortonsimon.org/

Aaron checking out a gothic version of Adam and Eve.


This is a painting by Matthias Stom, a student (?) of Carravaggio. My photo just doesn't do it justice. By the way, sorry for the blurry pictures- no flashes allowed.


A Rembrandt self portrait. I like that some of his paintings were very tight and some were very loose. I believe (and I may be wrong) that his work loosened up as he got older.


Aaron checking out a painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. It was originally mounted on the ceiling in a French palace.



A portrait by Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. I love the way she painted the eyes. This artist's story is very interesting as she was a successful female in a male dominated profession. She was the royal portraitist to Marie-Antoinette and the French royal family. One of my favorite pieces at the museum.


I think it's cool that back in the 17th Century hiring an artist to paint some ass was acceptable as long as there was some biblical story involved. It's a nice painting but it sorta comes off as pornographic in an old fashioned way, amirite? The Norton Simon website doesn't have this image in their collections page, I wonder why? Are they slightly ashamed?

Art changed with the invention of the camera and artists started experimenting with how color and light worked in their paintings. This was the beginning of a big change in all the arts, which is still in some ways flowing into our contemporaries. The museum seems to change drastically with the work the Impressionists were doing. Most of these paintings are about the color and light and texture, which my camera just didn't capture. Here are a few that turned out...


Van Gogh's mother. I love this painting. The colors are so strange and vibrant, and you can see the affection he had for her in his brush strokes.


The texture on this Van Gogh is crazy. Looks like he used whole tubes of paint squirted out onto the canvas.





Amedeo Modigliani's death mask. Do they still make these? Modigliani is one of my favorite painters.


Diego Rivera. This has always been one of my favorites.


Picasso to me has always been hit or miss. I either love it or am not too into it. I've always liked this one, something about the colors make me feel good.

The museum also has a few nice Kandinsky's that my camera didn't get good shots of. There is a Henri Rousseau that's pretty cool. And some Paul Klee work. And an Ed Ruscha. Good stuff. They had a photography show downstairs that looked pretty good. No photos cause photos of photos= bad photos. They also have a good Southeast Asian sculpture collection (once again, photos of these turned out bad).

We'll see if this trip helps the artist's block....

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great job done, keep it up!with the best regards!

Fabritzio said...

Great museum - I've read your blog and I enjoy your insights and info.

Miles said...

cool museum cross section jeff - i'm now bound to go check it out - looks like some very very serious art hangs out there! i hope you bust the slump and get feeling it again pronto - you shred and we love your paintings and drawings around our place!

wei wei said...

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