The Norton Simon Museum houses a world-renowned collection of art from South and Southeast Asia, with superb examples of this region’s sculptural and painting traditions. On permanent display are holdings from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as selected works from Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The collection is particularly rich in art from the Indian subcontinent, including monumental stone sculpture from the Kushana and Gupta periods, and a remarkable group of Chola bronzes from southern India.
The museum is also home to Diego Rivera’s 1941 masterpiece The Flower Vendor (Girl with Lilies). The painting shows a young woman, her back turned, embracing a bundle of white lilies. Rivera’s art was a tribute to the culture and tradition of the Mexican people. “There is need for an art profoundly pure, precise, profoundly human and clarified as to its purpose,” Rivera said in 1929. A contemporary of Rivera and Kahlo, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, captures everyday life vignettes in his photography. Several of his photographs belong to the Norton Simon’s permanent collection.