Director and CEO of Norton Museum of Art Ghislain d’Humières gives a behind-the-scenes look at his history in the art world, new exhibitions and his favorite Palm Beach hot spots.
Installation view of A Remarkable Gathering: The Fisher Landau Family Collection (through Sept. 11) at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach
Can you tell us about your history and experience in the art world?
For 15 years, I worked in the auction world between Sotheby’s and Christie’s in 18th to 19th century decorative art and international estate jewelry in London, New York, L.A., Geneva and South America. I decided to shift to the nonprofit cultural world, where I served as a deputy director for the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which went through an expansion. Then successively director at cultural institutions such as Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, Speed Art Museum in Kentucky and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia. Then I arrived in Palm Beach, which is an international art scene with international collectors and Norton’s Norman Foster-designed building.
What drew you to the Norton Museum of Art?
I was very interested in the future of the Norton with a newly transformed building. [Also] the energy of the community, the art collectors, the museum’s collections and being a part of a community where we could make a difference.
Since stepping into your role, how has the Palm Beach community supported you and the museum?
The Palm Beach community is very generous, sharing their art collections, connections to art dealers and galleries, and financial support. The Norton’s trustees are massively supportive. Their leadership and range of expertise are amazing.
Can you talk to us about the museum’s current exhibits?
Exhibitions on view this summer provide visitors with the opportunity to see a range of works by Pablo Picasso, in three special exhibitions, including ARemarkable Gathering: The Fisher Landau Family Collection, Dürer, Rembrandt and Picasso: Three Masters of the Print, as well as Picasso in Warmer Climes: Works on Canvas, Clay, and Paper, spanning diverse media such as paintings, prints and ceramics. Another highlight is Years of Glass: The Norton Collection 1982-2022, which features Norton’s collection of glass-centric objects with over three dozen artworks, including sculptures by Dale Chihuly, Olafur Eliasson, Beth Lipman and Toots Zynsky, among others. We have an unbelievable exhibition coming in October that explores fashion and street style photography through the eyes of Swiss collector and patron Nicola Erni, who has built one of the most important private collections of fashion photography. We will be the first museum in the U.S. to present this collection.
Dürer, Rembrandt, and Picasso: Three Masters of the Print, on view through Sept. 11 at the Norton Museum
Are there any events or programs for the summer that you’d like to spotlight?
The Norton is a year-round resource for the entire West Palm Beach community. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the museum hosts a wide array of exhibitions, events and family activities as part of its second annual Summer at the Norton programming initiative. Summer at the Norton features a variety of outdoor programs, including art classes, family workshops, sculpture tours, free drum circle lessons, tai chi and Yappy Saturday events, where community members and their canine friends can enjoy the museum’s lawn. Our Friday night Art Aft er Dark series continues weekly with live performances, film screenings and docent-led tours. I’d like to also highlight our free community Juneteenth celebration and Games Around the World, which draw families from all over the county.
Norton Director and CEO Ghislain d’Humières.
Installation view of Picasso in Warmer Climes: Works on Canvas, Clay, and Paper (through Aug. 28) at the Norton Museum of Art
What is your favorite part of your job?
The fact that there isn’t a single day that is the same. My day goes from meeting art collectors to leaders of community organizations to major city officials. I enjoy working with staff on exhibition projects and the fact that I’m able to interact with every aspect of management of the institution, making sure that the Norton is making a difference in the community at large.
What are some of your favorite Palm Beach hot spots for the summer?
The Norton, of course. In addition to the museum, I enjoy The Square. The restaurants and the vibrant scene [are] always exciting. I am also a fan of the beach. I love to swim.
Anything else you would like to buzz?
We are thrilled about our collaborations with Brightline, The Square and the School District of Palm Beach County. We are creating awareness and positioning Palm Beach County as an exciting place to be, in addition to collaboration with our neighbors, Palm Beach Atlantic University, HIVE Palm Beach and many others to create a dynamic niche known as the Norton Cultural Quarter. 1450 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, 561.832.5196
Photography by: PHOTO BY ASHLEY KERR/COURTESY OF THE NORTON MUSEUM OF ART; COURTESY OF THE NORTON MUSEUM OF ART