Duchamp and More at The Norton Simon Museum

Painting by Helen Frankenthaler "Adriatic" 1968
Painting by Helen Frankenthaler “Adriatic” 1968

Just a week after the East Austin Studio Tour ended (my last big art event for the year), we took another vacation out to LA to visit my husband’s elderly parents.

On our first day there, we met up with my friend Patri and proceeded to the Norton Simon Museum. Well, we did a kind of a whirlwind tour there. We had gone for the Marcel Duchamp Redux show, which was quite a tiny show. It was literally a copy of a show they had had there decades earlier. They had mostly prints of about 14 pieces from the earlier 1963 show, all in one small room.

More exciting to me were a few pieces from the post-painterly abstract painters Sam Francis and Helen Frankenthaler; especially the Frankenthaler piece (pictured here), which was a huge, all orange stain painting (orange — my favorite color! So exciting!!!).  Here is a snippet of a quote I copied from the gallery card for this painting: “What concerns me is — did I make a beautiful picture?” Well, I’d have to say emphatically, YES! I think (I’m afraid) I have similar sensibilities, whether that be good or not so good these days. What can I say?

Richard Diebenkorn - Bottles
Painting by Richard Diebenkorn “Bottles” 1960

There were some other great pieces in the room, “Tall Figure IV” by Giacometti; “Three Standing Figures,” 1953, by Henry Moore; “Untitled,” 1962-63 by Robert Irwin; 1947, “Horseman,” by Marino Marini; and “Bottles,” 1960, by Diebenkorn (pictured on the right). And more, but I didn’t have a chance to take any more names or notes.

We spent a few minutes looking at some of their Impressionist collection — admiring the perfect yellow Van Gogh had used to paint a straw hat and a tree (2 different works), a couple of pieces of Cezanne’s, including one of his fantastic tulips paintings, and at least one Monet.

We also peered at the “On the Enlightened Path: Jain Art from India”; “Ruth Weisberg: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image”; “Under the Influence: Art-Inspired Art”; and “The Art of War: American Posters from World War I and World War II” — the poster art exhibit in particular which was really quite fascinating.