I was really itching for some place to go, something to do for the weekend. Suddenly, the idea of going to the museum came to me – I cannot believe that I have not visited one in years, since I love art and art had been a huge part of my life back so many years ago. I was thinking of the Getty, but I was worried that it may be overly crowded, and I did not want to spend the $15 parking fee for the time being.
So I googled “free museums in Los Angeles” and a whole list came out. Huntington Library seemed to be a good choice, but one needs to reserve the free tickets one month in advance, so I have to wait until next month to do so. My companion mentioned the Norton Simon in Pasadena. I did a bit of research online, and found that the museum actually contains quite a impressive collection of European and Contemporary Art, with a good number of my favorite artists.
To my happy surprise, the museum is free the 1st Friday of the month from 5pm to 8pm,which happened to be the very next day. I was excited. I called to make sure that the information online was correct, and found also that parking is ample and free as well, perfect!
Left my house at 3pm and arrived in Pasadena at 4:45pm, not too bad a drive. I was surprised at myself for not knowing about this gem of a museum after having been in LA for so many years. The place was not huge, but just the right size so it was not overwhelming.
The guards were rather friendly and helpful, and told me that I just have to wait until exactly 5pm to see the collection. Since it was getting a bit dark, I walked outside to take a look at the beautiful, serene garden. The garden looked impressively like the Monet painting – calm, peaceful, absolutely gorgeous with beautiful sculptures by Henry Moore, Auguste Renoir, Rodin, …
The fact that it was early evening – with the half darkened sky, and deemed lighting, there was a mystical, magical aura to the garden.
The layout of the museum is simple and efficient – with the European, Modern and Contemporary Arts on the ground level, and the Southeast Asian galleries in the lower level.
Some of my most favorite artists were represented, with my absolute beloved ones being Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Rodin. The paintings and sculptures were exquisite and inspiring. The whole experience was exhilarating, and brought back wonderful memories of my visits to some of the best museums in Europe.
Being there reminded me of how much I love and appreciate art, it brought back memories of the part of life for me so long ago, when I was so deeply immersed into creating objects of art, and sharing those objects with people who appreciated them.
I told myself that I have to come back again to spend more time looking through each of the individual piece of art. There is also an Asian Garden area that I would like to wander about when the weather gets warmer outside.
I can say that the Norton Simon is now one of my most favorite museum. It has given me the desire and the inspiration to once again explore one of the more beautiful side of life.
Norton Simon Museum: 411 West Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105 Phone: 626-449-6840