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At the Norton, five easy pieces

Starting Thursday, the folks behind the Norton Museum of Art will bulk up the dry summer arts season ahead by showing off at least one masterpiece a month through October.

Called the "Masterpiece of the Month" series, the clutch of five works come on loan from local private collectors contacted by Norton curators. First up is late British figurative painter Lucian Freud's "The Brigadier," a 2003 portrait of retired British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, the ex-husband of Camilla Parker Bowles. The German-born painter, a grandson of Sigmund Freud, moved paint in great swaths on the canvas to create anti-romantic portraits of his subjects, many of whom were close friends.

"Freud was 80 years old when he painted this ambitious work of his friend he's known for decades, and it's incredibly personal and historically significant," says Cheryl Brutvan, who will discuss 'The Brigadier' during Thursday's Art After Dark program. "If you were a great confidant, he could stare and study you for years, which helped to layer his images with great complexity."

The works continue in June with American artist Mary Cassatt, who exhibited with Edgar Degas and other French impressionists in the 19th century. Down the pipeline are Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," an iconic photograph of a destitute, Great Depression-era pea-picker with three children. August will bring Salvador Dali's 1942 portrait of Chilean choreographer Marquis George de Cuevas, painted with surreal symbolism. In September, the Norton will display a 1717 Chinese court portrait of Yinli, Prince Guo of the Qing Dynasty.

The "Masterpiece of the Month" series begins 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., in West Palm Beach. Admission is $5-$12. Call 561-832-5196 or go to

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