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Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is located in Carmelita Park on West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. The history of the museum begins with the Pasadena Art Institute, which was founded in 1922 as a private, nonprofit institution. Over the years, the institute faced monetary problems and bankruptcy. The trustees, in 1974, reached an agreement with Norton Simon, a connoisseur and philanthropist, for a solution. On June 24, 1974, the museum closed for renovation. After combining the Pasadena Art Museum and Norton Simon collections, it reopened on March 1, 1975. In October of that year, the name of the institution was changed to the Norton Simon Museum of Art. Simon assumed the management of the institution in exchange for taking on the Museum’s financial obligations, which became a pivotal event that significantly changed the museum's identity and direction. The Norton Simon Museum of Art’s primary goal is to advance the study and knowledge of the arts. It regularly features special events dedicated to that purpose. The museum stands as a tribute to civilization, the visual arts, and the nobility of individual accomplishment. The museum holds one of the world’s finest and most prestigious collections of art. The permanent collections consist of Western and Asian art, from a period spanning more than 2,000 years. European and American masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and photography, are complemented by stunning works from India and South-East Asia. The museum has an extensive print collection, which includes rare etchings by the famous French artist Rembrandt. A wide range of Picasso’s works are also included among the museum’s collection. The exhibits include the Galka E. Scheyer collection of works by the Blue Four artists: Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Klee. In an effort to join past and present, the museum collaborated with other local institutions to mount an exhibition entitled "Radical Past: Contemporary Art and Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974." In 1999, the museum board significantly increased museum hours and added events that were directly related to the institution’s collections. The Norton Simon Museum continues to hold true to its namesake’s vision while organizing exhibitions that illustrate the collections' richness and history. The mission to use art for teaching, seeing, and for formal and informal education often highlights the dedication and commitment of the museum board. The vision of the mission is clarified in the words of Norton Simon: The role of art becomes increasingly important in keeping open lines of communication in a world where scientific development is regarded as the highest goal, and the individual feels alienated from society.