Norton Museum of Art

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Norton Museum of Art
West PB FL Norton MoA01.jpg
Norton Museum of Art is located in Florida
Norton Museum of Art
Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida
LocationWest Palm Beach, Florida
Coordinates26°42′03″N 80°03′11″W / 26.700782°N 80.053000°W / 26.700782; -80.053000
TypeArt museum
DirectorHope Alswang
ArchitectMarion Sims Wyeth

The Norton Museum of Art is an art museum located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Its collection includes over 7,000 works, with a concentration in European, American, and Chinese art as well as in contemporary art and photography. In 2003, it overtook the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, in Sarasota, as the largest museum in Florida.[1]


The Norton Museum of Art was founded in 1941 by Ralph Hubbard Norton (1875–1953) and his first wife, Elizabeth Calhoun Norton (1881–1947).

Norton, the former head of the Chicago-based Acme Steel Co., moved to West Palm Beach upon retirement and decided to share his sizable collection of paintings and sculpture. The late Art Deco/Neoclassical building designed by Marion Sims Wyeth opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941. Its mission statement is "to preserve for the future the beautiful things of the past."


In 2001, the Norton Museum of Art underwent a significant expansion when the 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) Gail and Melvin Nessel Wing was built and increased the size of the museum to 122,500 square feet (11,380 m2). Constructed over two years, it was opened to the public in 2003. The expansion created more space to display art in both the new and existing areas, increasing the Norton's gallery space by 75 percent, allowing more opportunities for the museum's permanent collection. The wing includes 14 new galleries, an enclosed courtyard to accommodate a variety of educational and social events, a glass ceiling installation commissioned from Dale Chihuly, a cantilevered spiral staircase, and three-story atrium designed to evoke the museum's art. The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Pavilion is a wedge-shaped meeting and reception space off to one side.[2] The new wing was designed by Chad Floyd of the Connecticut-based Centerbrook Architects.

In 2013, the museum unveiled a $60 million[3] master plan designed by the British architect Norman Foster that would nearly double its gallery space and add an education center, auditorium and restaurant.[4] The new West Wing will also add a 43ft-high Great Hall.[5] A parking lot next to the museum is also due to be converted into a 9,000 square feet (840 m2) sculpture garden. A new entrance and forecourt along the main thoroughfare, South Dixie Highway, will re-establish the axial layout of the Norton’s original 1941 Art Deco building.[6] As planned,[7] the museum broke ground in 2016.[8]


The ground-level galleries showcase contemporary American art. The top floor is given over to European art through 1870.[9]

In early 2018, the Norton Museum of Art received a gift of more than 100 works from the collection of Howard and Judie Ganek, including artworks by Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Donald Judd, Matthew Barney, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, and Pipilotti Rist, among others.[10]


During her tenure as director between 1990 and 2009, Christina Orr-Cahall transformed the museum into a full-fledged cultural institution, more than quadrupling its size. Hope Alswang has been director of the museum since 2010.[11]


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