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Another day in Pasadena

We didn’t know what we wanted to do yesterday, so we finally decided to go to Pasadena; we wanted to go to the Burlington Coat Factory there (we’d heard it was a large store) and the Norton Simon Museum to see the Vermeer that’s on loan.

So, we dropped the dog off with Jeff, our dog sitter (if you’re close to Woodland Hills, CA, and need someone to dog sit, contact me – I’d recommend Jeff in a heartbeat) and headed east.

Burlington Coat Factory is actually in Arcadia, the next village east of Pasadena.  And it is a HUGE store, with three floors.  Bought a few long sleeve shirts for me and a blouse for Aviva (and walked around the store for over an hour).

We drove west back to Pasadena and went to the Norton Simon Museum.  They have a painting by Vermeer on loan from the National Gallery, A Lady Writing.  Ever since seeing the movie, All the Vermeers in New York, I’ve been on a private quest to see as many Vermeers as I can.  I’ve seen this one before (I grew up outside Washington, D.C., and have been to the National Gallery a few times), but this was Aviva’s first time as she hasn’t been to the National Gallery yet.

The brochure front cover

The text of the brochure for the painting follows:

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) is one of the world’s most venerated artists, yet he left behind only a few dozen paintings and no drawings or prints. One of the 35 or so works attributed to Vermeer is A Lady Writing, created sometime in the mid-I66os. The painting depicts a young woman, sitting at a desk, wearing a fur-trimmed yellow morning jacket, pearl earrings and golden ribbons in her hair. A strand of pearls and a ribbon rest on the desk near her left hand. Although she is poised to write, her gaze is not at her letter but rather at the viewer. Her slight smile and open expression draw the viewer into the picture. As with his other paintings, Vermeer has transformed the depiction of everyday activities 
into a compelling and captivating scene.

The Norton Simon Museum is pleased to present an installation of this remarkable painting, on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Last year, the Norton Simon foundations formed an art exchange program with both the National Gallery of Art and The Frick Collection in New York City. Works of art from the Norton Simon foundations will be lent to both of these estimable institutions for special viewings and, in return, masterpieces from their collections will make their way to the Norton Simon Museum. A Lady Writing, the first loan to the Norton Simon Museum, appears in the 17th-century Dutch gallery alongside the Museum’s significant collection of Rembrandt portraits and other examples of 17th-century Dutch genre painting.

Norton Simon Museum
411 West Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91105
626.449.6840
info@nortonsimon.org
www.nortonsimon.org

Johannes Vermeer, Dutch, 1632-1675, A Lady Writing (detail), c. 1665, Oil on canvas,
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Harry Waldron Havcmeyer and Horace Havemeyer, Jr., 
in memory of their father, Horace Havemeyer.

For me, most of Vermeer’s portraits remind me of pictorialist photographs from the turn of the 20th century, especially the use of churoscuro (the interplay of light and dark) and the soft, almost out-of-focus quality of the portrait.

We also walked around the Italian paintings and the modern wing.

Out anniversary is Monday, so we decided to have our celebration dinner Saturday night at a recommended Italian restaurant.  So, we drove to South Padadena to Mission Street, which is the main shopping drag.  We got there early, so we shopped a little first.  We found two attached stores that we really liked:  Camille is a great dress shop that caters to women of all sizes, and Marz is a nice chatchke store (we bought a small head in the latter shop).

The head we bought at Marz

We walked back over to Brigante, which is a very nice Italian restaurant.  My appetizer was an interesting take on the Caprese salad, with pesto instead of fresh basil, and tomatoes grilled with basalmic vinegar; it was really good.  My main course was a pappardella pasta in a tomato sauce with sausage and mushrooms, and it was really good also.  Aviva had the minestrone soup (not the best I’ve tasted), and pasta in a grapefruit and cream sauce (this was much better).

The facade of Brigante

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