From La Brea to Lake Avenue: How a Long-Established L.A. Gallery Moved Eastward and Is Making Waves in Pasadena

Published on Mar 1, 2023

Gallery owner Jack Rutberg standing before Jerome Witkin’s “Painter’s Crossing: To the Passions of Rembrandt.” (Oil on canvas, 38 x 88 ½ inches)

A peek inside the Jack Rutberg Fine Arts gallery in Pasadena

The boundaries of the Los Angeles art gallery scene are expanding as one of L.A.’s longest-established galleries plans to opens its inaugural exhibition in Pasadena with a Sunday reception on March 12 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, formerly located on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles for more than 37 years, will present an exhibition appropriately titled “Expanding the Boundaries” at its new Pasadena location at 600 South Lake Avenue.

While international headlines continually trumpet the news that major East Coast and European galleries are moving to the L.A. and Hollywood region, it is notable that one of L.A.’s most venerated galleries moved in another direction — eastward — but only a short distance to Pasadena.

The Rutberg gallery early pioneered L.A.’s mid-Wilshire/Hollywood gallery scene in 1981 at a location not known for art galleries, though mere blocks from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, propelling the boom that followed, in an area that ultimately housed more than 30 art galleries.

The Rutberg gallery was known for major museum-quality exhibitions catering to both seasoned and beginning art collectors as well as museum curators. Its cultural programs included lectures by major art historians, artists, and a music series.

Now, four decades later, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts is planting its flag in Pasadena, an area rich in cultural institutions but not known for established art galleries.

“While there have been comings and goings of galleries here showing regional artists, the area is not known for galleries offering works that echo the caliber of those shown in its museums, be they contemporary or historic,” Rutberg said. “Our first exhibition deliberately examples the breadth of what we offer – paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture. I’ve curated our first exhibition to feature a range of museum-collected artists priced from $700 to $120,000 in hopes of educating a new audience to know that significant works of art can be affordable at a time when headlines only key upon multi-million dollar works of art.”

“To some degree, average collectors have come to believe they’ve been pushed out of the equation by such headlines. I’m concerned that to lose those collectors, museums lose future patronage”

Illustrating that point, “Expanding the Boundaries” features works by Jordi Alcaraz, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, George Braque, Hans Burkhardt, Marc Chagall, George Condo, Claire Falkenstein, Patrick Graham, George Grosz, Paul Klee, Peter Krasnow, Rene Magritte, Gustavo Montoya, Robert Motherwell, Reuben Nakian, George Nama, Pablo Picasso, Ruth Weisberg, Jerome Witkin and Francisco Zuniga.

“While people are surprised by our move to Pasadena as they were 40 years ago with my opening on La Brea Avenue, could I have better neighbors than the Huntington Museum and Gardens, a three minute drive, or the Norton Simon, a seven minute drive?” Rutberg asked rhetorically.

“Expanding the Boundaries” opens Sunday, March 12 with a reception from 3:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. and extends through April 29 at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts located at 600 South Lake Avenue, #102 in Pasadena. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free parking entry on South Lake Avenue. Gallery entrance is through the lobby. For further information phone: (323) 938-5222 or email

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