Monday, May 31, 2010

norton simon museum & garden

Today we went to the wonderful Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. This private collection, comprised of mostly European paintings and sculptures, was put together by a wealthy philanthropist-businessman who was also married to actress Jennifer Jones.

We were pleasantly surprised by how excellent the permanent collection is, particularly those in the Impressionist gallery. There were many works that were familiar to us, as well as really great pieces we'd never seen before from the likes of Rodin, Degas, Gauguin, Monet, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and many others, along with some more modern artists such as Picasso, Diebenkorn, Kandinsky, and Noguchi.

The museum also has a small but very pretty garden filled with sculptures and, somewhat appropriately, with water lilies, where I spent some time happily stalking dragonflies by the edge of the water. We don't have a super-duper high-powered camera yet and they don't always just fly up to us to visit, so for now I have to rely on stealth and patience and luck to wait for the dragonflies to light on a bit of greenery nearby.

The good thing is, we often do see them when we go to gardens here in southern California. I like these red dragonflies quite a bit--I think they're flame skimmers?--although there's an elusive, light-bodied blue-green one with transparent wings I've never been able to capture on film.

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