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Norton Simon Museum Announces Exhibition Featuring Recent Donations to the Museum (2002-2008)
Untitled, c. 1975. Ynez Johnston, American, b. 1920. Ink on paper. Image: 4-1/8 x 5-1/2 in. (10.48 x 13.97 cm); Sheet: 5-1/2 x 7 in. (13.97 x 17.78 cm) Norton Simon Museum, Gift of James Byrnes in memory of Barbara Byrnes, his lifelong partner and co-worker, P.2007.4.50 © Ynez Johnston Berry.

PASADENA, CA.- The Norton Simon Museum presents a selection of artworks donated to the Museum since 2002. Exceptionally Gifted: Recent Donations to the Norton Simon Museum (2002–2008) features approximately 160 works that vary in medium, date and country of origin. Among these are a substantive number of Indian and Southeast Asian paintings, manuscripts and sculpture; 20th-century California prints, paintings and sculpture; and photographs from the 1960s and 1970s. Together, these gifts reflect the expansive range of the Norton Simon collections while simultaneously broadening the Museum’s holdings.

Indian and Southeast Asian Art
The Norton Simon Museum is a major repository for the artistic traditions of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. While the foundation of the collection was formed by Norton Simon in the 1970s, in recent years the collection has been significantly expanded through the generosity of donors. The exhibition presents a large selection of Indian and Himalayan paintings, including the Indian watercolors Ladies Visiting an Ascetic at Night, c. early 18th century (donated by Vineet and Floretta Kapoor), and Prince Entering a Mansion, 1775–1800 (donated by Ramesh and Urmil Kapoor). Sculptures on view include the spectacular Meditating Buddha Protected by a Three-headed Serpent Deity, 10th century, from Thailand (donated by Michael Phillips and Juliana Maio), and the charming bronze Elephant with Driver, 14th–15th century, from Vietnam (donated by Pratap and Chitra Pal). In a category of its own is the illustrative Temple Wall with Scenes of Krishna's Life, 18th century, from Kerala, India (donated by the Narendra and Rita Parson Family Trust). This impressive piece—over 12 feet wide—was recently featured in the Museum’s exhibition Tales of the Blue Lord.

and Contemporary Art
Norton Simon was an avid collector of Pablo Picasso and early-20th-century art, and the exhibition features several donations that reflect this interest, including Picasso’s eye-catching poster Toros en Vallauris, 1960 (donated by Norman Locke and Octavia Capuzzi Locke), and the wistful watercolor River Styx, Flying Geese, c. 1926–28, by the American painter Edward Hagedorn (donated anonymously). Post–World War II art is represented by a series of elegiac postcard paintings by Llyn Foulkes from the 1980s (donated by Kati Breckenridge, Ph.D.) and three luminescent sculptures from the 1960s created and donated by Helen Pashgian. Works by Conner Everts, Ynez Johnston and Walter Askin are also on view and enhance the Museum’s already considerable collection of works by these groundbreaking Los Angeles-based artists.

The majority of the Norton Simon Museum’s photography collection was assembled in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with a focus on contemporary work by California-based artists. (In 2006, the collection was highlighted in the critically acclaimed exhibition The Collectible Moment and in its accompanying publication.) Recent donations that have enhanced these holdings include portfolios by Jerry McMillan (donated anonymously) and Fred Parker (donated by the artist), noted artists who have expanded the definitions of photography to address conceptual, sculptural and abstract concerns. Also on view in the exhibition is a tongue-in-cheek set of baseball-style trading cards created by Mike Mandel in 1975 (donated by Wendy Watkins-Stewart), featuring images and career statistics of such renowned artists as Ansel Adams, Judy Dater and Ed Ruscha. Leland Rice’s haunting Untitled (Edna), 1968 (donated by the artist), and Terry Wild’s stark and suggestive Crowded Vacancy, Los Angeles, 1969 (donated by the artist) complete the photography component of the exhibition.

“We are thrilled to share with our visitors some of the Museum’s newest acquisitions,” says Curator Christine Knoke. “This exhibition celebrates these gifts and the marvelous collectors who donated them—many of whom are the artists themselves. What is more, the exhibition highlights the breadth of the Norton Simon collections, presenting ancient artworks from Asia alongside 20th-century abstract paintings from Los Angeles.”

Exceptionally Gifted is organized by Curators Christine Knoke and Gloria Williams Sander and Assistant Curator Leah Lehmbeck.

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