January 27, 2015

A Visit to the de Young Museum

It has been about a decade since I last visited the beautiful city of San Francisco, so when I was invited to exhibit in a print fair here last weekend I accepted immediately!  What a pleasure to be back in The City by the Bay with its amazing beauty both natural and man-made.  The San Francisco Fine Print Fair took place at the Golden Gate Club situated in the verdant Presidio Park with stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.  Unfortunately for my blog, I was rather preoccupied with the show but the threat of "Snowmageddon" delayed my return to New York and gave me a chance to do a little sight seeing!

One of the must-see museums in San Francisco is the de Young which showcases American art from the 17th century to modern times.  The museum was founded in 1895 and is located just inside the beautiful Golden Gate Park.  Since 2005 the museum has been housed in a state-of-the-art facility designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron that features dramatic interior exhibition space and lovely gardens outside.

I spent several very pleasant hours exploring the permanent collection of the de Young Museum starting with the Art of the Americas Galleries that featured an outstanding group of Eskimo and Inuit artifacts and works from ancient Mexico and South America.

Two Cribbage Boards with carved animals, 
Alaska, ca. 1890

Also on the main floor is the Photography gallery featuring "Janet Delaney: South of Market",  oil paintings by California Abstract Expressionists, and the Works on Paper section presently showcasing prints from the Anderson Collection entitled "Celebrating the Spectrum".

On my way to lunch at the Museum Café, I stopped in to see the Piazzoni Murals - two sets of five panoramic murals created in 1931 and depicting California landscapes of "The Sea" and "The Land".

After a bite to eat I headed outdoors to the Osher Sculpture Garden to enjoy the modern and contemporary, oversize works in a natural setting.  Here you see Claes Oldenberg's "Corridor Pin, Blue", 1999.

And Gustav and Ulla Kraitz's "Apples", 2005, with the 1969 Calder stabile "Big Crinkly" in the background...


And the James Turrell "Sky Space" entitled "Three Gems", 2005, which would have been fabulous had the lights actually been working!

Back inside I headed to the Upper Level and its collection of American Art from the 18th to the 20th Centuries.  What was quite lovely about the installation was the mix of objects together with paintings.  

 A selection of American antique chairs

John Singer Sargent
"Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d'Espeuilles", 1884

Gustav Grunewald
"The Niagara River at the Cataract" & 
"Horseshoe Falls from Below the High Bank", 1832

Georgia O'Keeffe "Petunias", 1925

There are also galleries dedicated to the Art of Africa, Art of Indonesia, Art of New Guinea and the Art of Oceania making for a comprehensive ethnographic experience.

As I was getting ready to leave a guard stopped me and asked if I had seen the Tower view.  After a little looking I found the elevator that takes visitors up to the 9th floor Hamon Observation Tower that offers a 360 degree panorama of San Francisco and its environs.

Facing South toward The Music Concourse with the 
Spreckels Temple of Music

Yes, that is the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance!

The "Blizzard of 2015" may not have lived up to expectations, but my extended stay in San Francisco turned out to be a blessing in disguise! 

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