Palace of Fine Arts and the Lagoon by Edwin Deakin (1883-1923)
Speaking of museums, I just spent the best day at the de Young checking out Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) now on view through January 10, 2016.
Jewel City features some 200 paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and photos of the 20,000 originally included in the 1915 exposition and housed in the Palace Fine Arts. PPIE was intended to celebrate both the opening of the Panama Canal and the reconstruction of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake.
This was a treat for me because as a child I often walked to the Palace of Fine Arts with my dad to feed the ducks and saunter around, awestruck by the size and magnificence of this historic building. But I have never really known how the building was used for the exposition and certainly I’ve never seen the collection exhibited. In fact this is the first time since the exposition that any of the collection has been on view together.
Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945), The Victory of Culture Over Force, 1914.
The exhibit is split into a series of galleries based on region and style, for example California artists, French, Italian Futurists. Many pieces are from the San Francisco of Fine Arts Museums’ own collection and others are on loan. Among my favorites were the illustrations advertising the exposition and the Arts and Crafts aesthetic reflected in the California Gallery. I was also attracted to the Hungarian Modernism Gallery, which was a definite shift from the others for its edginess. Considered Avant Garde at the time, the style was quite a shock to 1915 viewers.
Self Portrait by Hungarian artist Lojos Tihanyi (1885-1938).
This exhibit is a cultural, historic, and aesthetic feast and of course an opportunity for inspiration. ( I like the idea of choosing a figure from one of the paintings and having her outfit recreated for next Halloween or perhaps a masquerade ball.)
Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. I suggest going on a Friday afternoon and staying into the evening when the museum stays open late and has live music and other fun and engaging activities. Click here for more information.