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DEYOUU_110729_0005.JPG: American Art at the de Young:
The extraordinarily high quality of the historical American paintings represented at the de Young directly reflects the benevolence of Mr and Mrs John D Rockefeller 3rd. With remarkable foresight regarding the importance locating a major group of American paintings on the West Coast, they gave their superb collection of American masterworks to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Initiated in 1979 and completed in 1993, their gift established the de Young's core holdings and inspired its ongoing commitment to acquire paintings by the country's leading artists, works that have become icons of our artistic tradition.
As an artist, philanthropist, and honorary trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Ednah Root was a remarkable presence in the Bay Area. In 1978, her support established the American Art Department and funded its senior curatorial staff. We remain exceedingly grateful that she guaranteed the ongoing programs, curatorial activities, and staffing of the department in 1987 with the posthumous establishment of the Ednah Root Foundation.
DEYOUU_110729_0040.JPG: Art in America:
The art on view in these galleries spans four centuries and encompasses objects created by Native American cultures, by early European colonists in the Americas, and by the immigrants and their descendants, who have populated the United States. Many of these cultures clashed over possession of the landscape and their differing visions of America's future. They also advocated, appropriated, and assimilated ideas that evolved into the cross-cultural hybrids that continue to define America. This cultural diversity and complexity is a historical fact of life in the United States, one whose impact is increasingly visible in the objects displayed in these galleries.
These objects have deep roots in history, and they reflect personal visions and collective concerns, as well as the time, place, and culture of their creation. However, changing perceptions of the same objects by new generations of viewers make it possible to view the de Young's permanent collection of art as a collection of ideas that are continually reinterpreted.
The juxtaposition of the old with the new is intended to foster a dialogue between the past and the present, and to remind viewers that truly resonant artistic ideas can transcend the work's time and place of origin, as well as its stylistic vocabulary.
The permanent collection integrates art created locally, nationally, and, in recent decades, internationally, and implicitly questions the assumption that Americans share a single set of cultural standards. California's strong cultural ties to Asia and the Americas, sensitivity to environmental issues, and innovative technologies all heighten an awareness of belonging to an increasing global community that transcends regionalism. As a component of this evolutionary process, the new de Young aspires to provide a cultural common ground -- a fertile gathering place for art, people, and ideas that have their roots in history, flourish in the present, and will continue to grow in the future, thus sustaining the resonance and relevance of the collections.
DEYOUU_110729_0134.JPG: John Reich
Indian peace medal, c 1801
DEYOUU_110729_0150.JPG: John Wollaston
Elizabeth North Plumstead (later Mrs. William Elliot), ca 1758
DEYOUU_110729_0160.JPG: Charles Willson Peale
Mordecai Gist, c 1774
DEYOUU_110729_0168.JPG: Benjamin West
George Harry Grey, Lord Grey (later the Fifth Earl of Stamford), 1765
DEYOUU_110729_0173.JPG: Colonial Cultures:
For many colonists living in the Americas, paintings, furniture, silver and other objects conveyed both personal and communal values. In the private sphere, family portraits -- which comprised the vast majority of colonial paintings -- recorded likenesses, documented familial ties, and created a comforting continuity between successive generations. In the public sphere, such portraits documented professions, as well as social standing and aspirations. The possession of these luxury objects (one in 100 colonists owned a portrait) projected an image of prosperity, cultivation, and class status. These objects also symbolized political and cultural ties to ancestral nations across the Atlantic Ocean.
Traditionally, Americans have viewed colonial cultures, not through primary source documents, but through the lens of the later Colonial Revival movement and its popular culture. The movement flowered following the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876), held in the nation's first capital, which inspired renewed nostalgia for the past through its reconstructions of historic buildings and period rooms. In contrast to the devisiveness associated with the Civil War, the colonial period was distinguished by national unity and gradually became the most revered period of American history.
The Colonial Revival was most strongly embraced by descendants of early Anglo-American Protestant settlers, who pointedly ignored the earlier Spanish and Catholic colonial heritage of the United States. These descendants used colonial genealogy, historic house museums, and antiques to preserve and promote the values of a disappearing social order. More recent immigrants and their descendants, who lacked colonial pedigrees and heirlooms, were encouraged to acculturate by adopting the values of the Founding Fathers, as well as reproductions of their colonial homes and furniture. The enduring mythology of the Colonial Revival serves as a reminder that our vision of the past is continually reshaped by subsequent generations of viewers.
DEYOUU_110729_0177.JPG: John Singleton Copley
Joshua Henshaw (1703-1777), ca 1770
DEYOUU_110729_0185.JPG: John Singleton Copley
Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner), 1763
DEYOUU_110729_0195.JPG: Thomas Eakins
The Courtship, c 1878
DEYOUU_110729_0203.JPG: Gilbert Charles Stuart
Reverend William Ellery Channing, ca 1815
DEYOUU_110729_0206.JPG: Gilbert Charles Stuart
William Rufus Gray, ca 1807
DEYOUU_110729_0212.JPG: Gilbert Charles Stuart
James MacDonald of Inglesmauldie, ca 1785
DEYOUU_110729_0218.JPG: Charles Willson Peale
DEYOUU_110729_0234.JPG: Thomas Cole
Prometheus Bound, 1847
DEYOUU_110729_0254.JPG: Forging a National Identity:
In the decades following the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the new United States of America sought to create a new vocabulary of shared national symbols that would transcend regional differences. American citizens eagerly embraced their new flag, the bald eagle as the national bird, allegorical images of "Liberty," and military and civilian portraits of a noble -- or even godlike -- George Washington.
Americans also studied and copied the architecture, art, and decorative arts of ancient Greece and Rome. While European monarchs and emperors used the neoclassical style to evoke associations with the Roman Empire, in the United States the "Grecian" style consciously evoked classical Greece, style of the world's most famous democracy. Neoclassicism conferred an aura of age and dignity upon the new nation, and many Americans believed that the emulation of classical precedents of democratic government, education, and ideal beauty would promote civic virtue, personal morality, and cultural refinement, illustrated in publications that documented ongoing archeological excavations at the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in Italy provided artists with historically accurate inspiration for neoclassical styles. American craftsmen rarely copied ancient art exactly, preferring instead to combine decorative elements into new designs for the American marker. The early neoclassical, or Federal, style is characterized by lighter, rectilinear forms, delicate ornament, and a fascination with geometry. The later Greek Revival style is characterized by heavier, curvilinear forms and elaborate carving and gilding.
American artists viewed ancient art while on the Grand Tour and embraced the prevailing taste for historical, biblical, and mythological subjects while studying in the studios of their European counterparts. However, attempts to establish a school of neoclassical history painting in the United States met with resistance from American patrons, who preferred portraits of people like themselves who were making history in the present.
DEYOUU_110729_0257.JPG: Benjamin West
Cupid Stung by a Bee, 1802
DEYOUU_110729_0262.JPG: Benjamin West
Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce, 1789
DEYOUU_110729_0285.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
The Arch of Octavius (Roman Fish Market), 1858
DEYOUU_110729_0298.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
Sunlight and Shadow, 1862
DEYOUU_110729_0305.JPG: Gustave Herter, Christian Herter, Herter Brothers, New York (designer)
Gueret Freres (maker)
Mantelpiece for Thurlow Lodge, Menlo Park, California, ca 1872-1873
DEYOUU_110729_0333.JPG: Eastman Johnson
Portraits (The Brown Family), 1869
DEYOUU_110729_0344.JPG: Charles Christian Nahl
Peter Quivey and the Mountain Lion, 1858
DEYOUU_110729_0351.JPG: Samuel Colt
Model Dragoon .44 caliber revolver, ca 1848-1850
DEYOUU_110729_0358.JPG: United and Divided:
Manifest Destiny and the Civil War:
In the mid-19th century, Americans' vision of Manifest Destiny seemed to unite the states in a shared destiny to settle and cultivate the trans-Mississippi West, while the volatile issue of slavery threatened to divide the existing union and the new frontier territories.
Linking his vision of American empire with the spread of democracy, New York journalist John L. O'Sullivan proclaimed in 1845, "the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us." Political and economic factors such as the Oregon Treaty (1846), the Mexican American War (1846-1848), the California Gold Rush (1849) and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (1869) fueled the expansion of American settlement in the West. Fine and popular art portrayed the landscape as being abundant in natural resources that supposedly were not being maximized by Native Americans, and it depicted pioneering frontiersman and river boatmen as idealized surrogates for the settlers who followed in their paths.
The American Civil War (1861-1865), which cost more American lives (600,000) than any other conflict, exposed deep regional, racial, and class differences and seriously undermined the nation's unity. Sectional differences over slave labor dominated American politics for several decades preceding the conflict and revealed an inherent moral flaw in a nation founded on the principle, "all men are created equal." The Civil War was a relatively rare subject for painters and was generally confined to the popular press and to the medium of photography, which captured the horrors of the conflict with unparalleled realism. In the century following the war, Southern resistance to assimilation by the victorious Union fostered romanticized nostalgia for a mythical antebellum culture, while ongoing civil rights struggles increasingly defined the South in terms of Jim Crow racism.
DEYOUU_110729_0362.JPG: David Gilmour Blythe
Justice, ca 1860
DEYOUU_110729_0368.JPG: Edward Hicks
The Peaceable Kingdom, ca 1846
DEYOUU_110729_0376.JPG: George Caleb Bingham
Boatmen on the Missouri, 1846
DEYOUU_110729_0390.JPG: George Caleb Bingham
Country Politician, 1849
DEYOUU_110729_0395.JPG: Jurgan Frederick Huge
Composite Harbor Scene with Volcano, ca 1875
DEYOUU_110729_0402.JPG: James Bard
The Steamship Syracuse, 1857
DEYOUU_110729_0412.JPG: William Hahn
Sacramento Railroad Station, 1874
DEYOUU_110729_0449.JPG: Eastman Johnson
Sugaring Off, ca 1865
DEYOUU_110729_0456.JPG: Ferdinand Richardt
View of Mount Vernon, 1858
DEYOUU_110729_0466.JPG: George Henry Durrie
Winter in the Country, 1857
DEYOUU_110729_0473.JPG: Unidentified Artist
Robert, Calvin, Martha, and William Scott and Mila, ca 1843-1845
DEYOUU_110729_0480.JPG: Winslow Homer
Albert Post (1843-1872), ca 1864
DEYOUU_110729_0489.JPG: Winslow Homer
The Bright Side, 1865
DEYOUU_110729_0497.JPG: Franklin Simmons
General William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), ca 1866
DEYOUU_110729_0504.JPG: Horace Pippin
The Trial of John Brown, 1942
DEYOUU_110729_0511.JPG: Thomas Hovenden
The Last Moments of John Brown, ca 1884
This painting depicts abolitionist martyr John Brown (1800-1859) being taken to his execution in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), on December 2, 1859. On October 16, Brown and his followers had seized the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, hoping to inspire a rebellion among enslaved African Americans in the South. The uprising failed; Brown was captured, tried, and sentenced to death.
Howenden's heroic image of Brown recalls a Moses-like prophet or Christlike martyr (note the cross shape behind his head). Reconstruction-era viewers would have been reassured that this vision of freedom for future generations of African Americans -- symbolized by the false legend of Brown blessing the slave child -- had been realized by the Civil War (1861-1865). Yet the period was characterized by resurgent racism, including Jim Crow laws that codified prejudice and mob lynchings that averaged one per week.
DEYOUU_110729_0537.JPG: Thomas Waterman Wood
Moses, the Baltimore News Vendor, 1858
DEYOUU_110729_0546.JPG: Thomas Waterman Wood
Market Woman, 1858
DEYOUU_110729_0556.JPG: The Real and the Ideal in the Gilded Age:
As the United States emerged, battered yet intact, from the Civil War (1861-1865), it commenced the greatest territorial, economic, and population expansion in the nation's history. Internally, this growth was fueled by the natural resources of the West and by the industrial factories of the East. Externally, an interest in world cultures (and their objects) arose in the context of imperial political expansion, global tourism, world's fairs, and new museums. The decades following the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 are often described as the American Renaissance, a period -- like the 15th-century Italian Renaissance -- epitomized by a revival of art and architecture, much of it funded by newly wealthy capitalists.
The era also was known as the Gilded Age, a term coined in 1873 by the writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner to capture the extraordinary material success -- and excess -- of the time. However, the term gilded also evoked the darker foundations of this society, which were characterized by growing tension between agrarian rural and industrial urban life, between immigrant union members and capitalist robber barons, and between the poor and the privileged.
Technological innovations such as electric lights, telephones, typewriters, indoor plumbing, washing machines, and automobiles transformed both work and home environments and radically redefined male and female gender roles. Ironically, as American women demanded new civil and social rights that transcended their traditional domestic roles as wives and mothers, artists depicted women in these same conventional roles, or as erotic or exotic objects of desire. Similarly, as American men increasingly worked in factories and offices, images of strong and virile men as warriors, hunters, or sportsmen multiplied in art. This tension between the real and the ideal mirrored the sense of dislocation experienced by many Americans as they entered the modern era.
DEYOUU_110729_0560.JPG: Thomas Eakins
Female Model, ca 1867-1869
DEYOUU_110729_0580.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
Study for Indians Hunting Buffalo, ca 1888
DEYOUU_110729_0615.JPG: James Abbott McNeill Whistler
The Gold Scab: Eruption in Frilthy Lucre (The Creditor), 1879
DEYOUU_110729_0628.JPG: Frederic Sackrider Remington
The Bronco Buster, 1895
DEYOUU_110729_0640.JPG: Charles Caryl Coleman
Azaleas and Apple Blossoms, 1879
DEYOUU_110729_0656.JPG: Thomas Eakins
Frank Jay St. John, 1900
DEYOUU_110729_0666.JPG: The Hudson River School:
The Hudson River School was not a school, but a group of artists who shared the goal of establishing an American landscape painting tradition independent from that of Europe. Despite nationalist motivations, Hudson River School artists were strongly influenced by European aesthetic concepts of the sublime (nature's awesome power), the beautiful (harmonious and pleasing nature), the picturesque (nature softened by the hand of man), and association (the association of natural sites and human structures with historical events).
A sketching tour by Thomas Cole up the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains in 1825 is usually considered to mark the beginning of the Hudson River School. New York City was the geographical center of the movement, which was also called the "native," "American," or "New York" school. Although the artists traveled and worked in Europe, their favored subjects included the Hudson River region, as well as the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains, and coastal New England.
Thomas Cole depicted the American landscape as a New World Eden that represented both god's creation and the nation's destiny to settle the "wilderness." Frederic E. Church sought to evoke cosmic truths by blending art and science in large-scale landscapes. Martin Johnson Heade and Sanford Robinson Gifford created light-suffused landscapes that evoked a spiritual presence. Albert Bierstadt's panoramic landscapes celebrated the grandeur of the America West and its suitability for settlement.
The decline of the Hudson River School style was brought about by the Civil War, which permanently altered Americans' perceptions of their country and its contested landscape, by the growing popularity of European art among American critics and collectors, and by the fulfillment of America's self-perceived Manifest Destiny to settle the entire continent, an accomplishment that reduced the American landscape's rhetorical resonance.
DEYOUU_110729_0673.JPG: Thomas Cole
View Near the Village of Catskill, 1827
DEYOUU_110729_0694.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
Nassau Harbor, ca 1877
DEYOUU_110729_0708.JPG: Frederic Edwin Church
Rainy Season in the Tropics, 1866
DEYOUU_110729_0745.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
California Spring, 1875
DEYOUU_110729_0761.JPG: Sandow Birk
Fog over San Quentin State Prison, California, San Quentin, California, 2001
DEYOUU_110729_0772.JPG: Thomas Moran
Grand Canyon with Rainbow, 1912
DEYOUU_110729_0778.JPG: Thomas Moran
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming, 1906
DEYOUU_110729_0836.JPG: Albert Bierstadt
View of Donner Lake, California, 1871-1872
DEYOUU_110729_0850.JPG: Attributed to Frederic Edwin Church
Our Banner in the Sky, ca 1861
Frederic Edwin Church studied art with Thomas Cole, from whom he acquired a conception of landscape as both a manifestation of God's creation and a vehicle for the expression of nationalist ideals. This painting, based on an earlier oil sketch by Church, was inspired by the first military engagement of the American Civil War -- the capture of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, by Southern forces in April 1861. Fort Sumter's battle-scarred American flag, displayed at patriotic rallies in the North, quickly became an important propaganda symbol for Union Army recruitment.
Church's patriotic vision rescued the tattered American flag from the ruins of Fort Sumter and resurrected it symbolically in the Northern landscape that served as the favored subject of the Hudson River School artists. By placing the forces of nature in the service of American nationalism, Church invoked divine intervention on behalf of the struggle to preserve the Union.
DEYOUU_110729_0857.JPG: Frederic Edwin Church
DEYOUU_110729_0924.JPG: John Frederick Peto
The Cup We All Race 4, ca 1900
DEYOUU_110729_0953.JPG: Mary Cassatt
Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, the Artist's Mother, ca 1889
DEYOUU_110729_0961.JPG: John Singer Sargent
Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d'Espeuilles, 1884
DEYOUU_110729_0966.JPG: Frederick Childe Hassam
Easter Morning (Portrait at a New York Window), 1921
DEYOUU_110729_0977.JPG: Frederick Childe Hassam
Seaweed and Surf, Appledore, at Sunset, 1912
DEYOUU_110729_0982.JPG: John Singer Sargent
Trout Stream in the Tyrol, 1914
DEYOUU_110729_1012.JPG: John Singer Sargent
La verre de porto (A Dinner Table at Night), 1884
DEYOUU_110729_1016.JPG: Theresa Bernstein
In the Elevated, 1916
DEYOUU_110729_1042.JPG: George Wesley Bellows
Seated Nude, 1910-1911
DEYOUU_110729_1049.JPG: Edward Walter Dickinson
The 'Cello Player, 1924-1926
DEYOUU_110729_1055.JPG: Max Weber
Girl with Comb, 1919
DEYOUU_110729_1065.JPG: Raul Anguinao
Untitled (Seated Girl Holding an Apple), 1943
DEYOUU_110729_1076.JPG: George C Ault
The Mill Room, 1923
DEYOUU_110729_1087.JPG: George C. Ault
Highland Light, 1929
DEYOUU_110729_1092.JPG: Reginald Marsh
Coney Island, 1952
DEYOUU_110729_1103.JPG: George Grosz
Lower Manhattan, 1934
DEYOUU_110729_1171.JPG: Rockwell Kent
Afternoon on the Sea, Monhegan, 1907
DEYOUU_110729_1178.JPG: Granville Redmond
The Mowers (When Hearts Beat as One), 1907
DEYOUU_110729_1198.JPG: The Arts and Crafts Movement:
The American Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century was comprised of artists, architects, designers, and craftsmen who shared similar ideals rather than a single defining style. The movement evolved in part from the English Aesthetic Movement, which embraced the philosophy of "art for art's sake" and promoted beauty in all aspects of life.
However, the Arts and Crafts Movement also had strong social foundations. These artists denounced the impersonal and demoralizing division of labor epitomized by the factory assembly line. Instead they created communal workshops that championed natural materials and handmade objects over those that were machine-made and mass-produced.
Drawing inspiration from English pioneers such as William Morris (1834-1896), Arts and Crafts artists rejected elaborate Victorian historical revival styles in favor of an increasingly simplified aesthetic that anticipated the "form follows function" ideal of 20th-century modernism. Nonetheless, the design sources for Arts and Crafts objects were numerous and diverse.
European Medieval and Renaissance motifs evoked associations with traditional craftsmanship and spirituality and reflected the movement's reverence for humanist values. Asian aesthetics, transmitted in part through Japonisme -- the vogue for Japanese art, architecture, and decorative arts -- reinforced a respect for the inherent properties of natural materials and encouraged the use of simplified forms, flattened perspectives, and asymmetry.
Native American art forms, especially the ceramics, blankets, and jewelry marketed to tourists in the Southwest, provided truly indigenous precedents for communal handcraft traditions. The Mission style, inspired in part by California's Spanish Catholic missions, celebrated the virtues of simple, solid, and affordable objects that could transform the American home into a harmonious aesthetic ensemble.
The humanist values of the American Arts and Crafts Movement were marginalized by Machine Age modernism in the decades after World War I but were revived by the studio crafts movement of the 1960s.
DEYOUU_110729_1228.JPG: Gottardo FP Piazzoni
The Land, 1932
The Sea and The Land, two panoramic five-panel mural suites, were created for a loggia at the top of the grand staircase in the main building of San Francisco's Public Library. The paintings, which were integrated into the architecture of the Beaux-Arts building, were intended to suggest vistas seen through the columns of a terrace. The murals were removed when the structure was remodeled to accommodate the Asian Art Museum. Following extensive conservation, they were installed in this room, which was designed to reflect their original arrangement.
Gottardo Piazzoni, an American citizen who was born in Switzerland and studied in San Francisco and Paris, was one of California's leading artists. His works often synthesize the flattened, isometric perspective of Asian art with the subtle color harmonies of Tonalism and the favored Symbolist subject of solitary figures in communion with nature.
In contrast to traditional library murals that depicted allegories of education and knowledge, Piazzoni's suite focuses on two aspects of the California landscpae. The Land, with a rancher on horseback observing several of his cattle, marks the inland landscape as a site for work and a source for food, and it is perhaps a reminiscence of the Carmel Valley ranch that belonged to the artist's father. The Sea, with two seated viewers watching a distant sailboat, depicts the coastal landscape as a site for recreation and contemplation. Together, these murals capture the temporal beauty and the timeless spirituality that have inspired generations of artists working in Northern California.
DEYOUU_110729_1280.JPG: Aaron Douglas
DEYOUU_110729_1282.JPG: America at the Crossroads:
The American stock market crash of October 1929 brought an abrupt end to the Roaring Twenties, a decade of economic boom fueled by increased industrialization and financial speculation. The Great Depression that followed revealed the disparity between America's cherished ideals of equality and economic opportunity for all and the harsh realities of class difference, which was then, as now, a taboo subject for most Americans. The depression also weakened the market for art; provoked a conservative trend among critics, curators, and collectors; and heightened the divisions that separated the American avant-garde from academic artists.
Many modernist artists, including those interested in abstraction, believed that art should transcend temporal concerns and argued that academic artists were isolationist reactionaries who sought to suppress artistic freedom. Conversely, many American Scene and Regionalist artists publicly rejected European-derived modernism in favor of national or regional schools that embraced indigenous subjects, realism, and a populist sensibility.
Social Realists in the United States and in Mexico argued that their colleagues had a moral responsibility to address the pressing political, social, and economic issues of the day through their work.
The Great Depression also revived longstanding tensions between urban and rural America, and between industrial and agrarian labor. Major cities were depicted as stratified societies in which the economic, ethnic, and racial tensions of American life were visible in the streets. Industrial factories increasingly were perceived as being run by wealthy capitalists who sought to preserve their profits at the expense of their workers. In contrast, rural America was nostalgically imagined as the repository of the country's traditional values and home to farm laborers who embodied the highest ideals of democracy. Many of these ongoing issues were temporary set aside at the outbreak of World War II, which revived the economy and fostered a renewed sense of national unity and purpose.
DEYOUU_110729_1300.JPG: Grant Wood
Dinner for Threshers, 1934
DEYOUU_110729_1306.JPG: Thomas Hart Benton
Susanna and the Elders, 1938
DEYOUU_110729_1345.JPG: William Gropper
Senate Hearing, ca 1950
DEYOUU_110729_1354.JPG: Jacob Lawrence
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Wikipedia Description: M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, commonly called simply the de Young Museum, is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is named for early San Francisco newspaperman M. H. de Young.
The museum opened in 1895 as an outgrowth of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 (a fair modeled on the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of the previous year). It was housed in an Egyptian style structure which had been the Fine Arts Building at the fair. The building was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1906 and was demolished and replaced in 1929 with a Spanish Renaissance style structure. This building was originally decorated with cast-concrete ornaments on the façade. The ornaments were removed in 1949 as they began to fall and had become a hazard. As part of the agreement that created the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 1972, the de Young's collection of European art was sent to the Legion of Honor. In compensation, the de Young received the right to display the bulk of the organization's anthropological holdings. These include significant pre-Hispanic works from Teotihuacan and Peru, as well as indigenous tribal art from sub-Saharan Africa. The building was severely damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It in turn was demolished and replaced by a new building in 2005.
The de Young Museum showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa.
American art gallery
The American art collection consists of over 1,000 paintings, 800 sculptures, and 3,000 decorative arts objects. With works ranging from 1670 to the present day, this collection represents the most comprehensive museum survey of American art in the American West and is among the top ten collections nationally that encompass the entire history of non-indigenous American art. Since its inception in the Fine Arts Building at the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 in Golden Gate Park, its subsequent institutionalization in the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1924, and its reinstallation in the new de Young in 2005, the permanent collection has evolved exponentially.
In 1978, the American art collections were transformed by the decision of John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller to donate their renowned collection of 110 paintings, 29 drawings, and 2 sculptures to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco where they would be on view at the de Young Museum. His bequest in 1979 together with her bequest in 1993 are among the Fine Arts Museums’ single most important gifts of art.
The de Young’s chronological survey of American art includes galleries devoted to art in the following areas: Native American and Spanish Colonial; Anglo-Colonial; Federal and Neoclassical; Victorian genre and realism; trompe l’oeil still life; the Hudson River School, Barbizon, and Tonalism; Impressionism and the Ashcan School; Arts and Crafts; Modernism; Social Realism and American Scene; Surrealism and Abstraction; Beat, Pop, and Figurative; and contemporary.
Although the permanent collection is national in scope, art made in California from the Gold Rush era to the present day is also on display in the de Young Museum. Important California collections with national significance include examples of Spanish colonial, Arts and Crafts, and Bay Area Figurative and Assemblage art. Important among them are the most significant museum collections of works by Bay Area painter Chiura Obata and sculptor Ruth Asawa.
The permanent collection galleries integrate decorative arts objects with paintings and sculptures, emphasizing the artistic, social, and political context for the works on display. While essentially chronological, the installation also juxtaposes works from different cultures and time periods to emphasize the historical connections between works in the collection.Painters with paintings in this art museum include;John Copley,John Vanderlyn,Thomas Cole("Promethous Bound",Thomas Hill.Thomas Wood("Newspaper Vendor"),Samuel Brookes,John Peto,Childe Hassam,George Hitchcock,Maynard Dixon,Otis Oldfield,Granville Redmond,Thomas Hart Benton("Sauannah and The Elders"),David Park,Richard Diebenkorn,Mel Ramos,and Wayne Thiebaud.
Archives of American Art
Since 1991, the American Art Department has housed a set of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art microfilm collection. In conjunction with the Bothin Library and department research files, the American Art Study Center is the most important research center for American art on the West Coast.
In 1988 the Fine Arts Museums made a commitment to collect international contemporary art. In addition to works in traditional media, this commitment has expanded the Museums’ holdings of works in new or multiple media––including installation and conceptual works, video and other time-based media, and photography and other lens-based media––to more accurately reflect contemporary art practice.
Recent contemporary acquisitions include Wall of Light Horizon (2005), by Sean Scully and signature sculptures by Zhan Wang and Cornelia Parker. The strength of the collection lies in artists associated with California, including Piotr Abraszewski, Christopher Brown, Squeak Carnwath, Jim Christiansen, Robert Colescott, Hung Liu, Bruce Nauman, Rachel Neubauer, Ed Ruscha, and Masami Teraoka.
Lens-based and time-based media represent a new area of growth, with works by Nigel Poor, Catherine Wagner, Rebeca Bollinger, and Alan Rath. The Museums have also acquired works by international artists such as Anish Kapoor, Odd Nerdrum, Gottfried Helnwein, Doris Salcedo, David Nash, Barbara Hepworth, and Richard Deacon.
Textiles and costumes:
The Fine Arts Museums’ textiles collection boasts more than 12,000 textiles and costumes from around the world. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its type in the United States. It comprises costume and costume accessories; loom-woven textiles; non-woven fabrics such as bark cloth, felt, and knitting; and objects whose primary decoration is produced through techniques such as beading and embroidery. With holdings that span two and a half millennia and represent cultures from 125 countries, the textile arts collection enables the Museums to draw connections across cultures and enrich its other collections.
Highlights from the collection include extraordinary Turkmen carpets, rare 12th through 15th-century Central Asian and North Indian silks, the most important group of Anatolian kilims outside Turkey, European tapestries, and contemporary fiber art.
The de Young Museum has exhibited fashion since the 1930s and is known for its 20th-century couture, particularly from the post–World War II era, with pieces by Dior, Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Ralph Rucci, and Kaisik Wong. There are equally compelling collections of 18th and 19th-century European fans, an excellent lace collection, a spectacular group of European ecclesiastical vestments and furnishings, and a growing collection of contemporary wearable art.
Africa, Pacific, and the Americas:
More than 1,400 stellar examples from the eastern Sudan, the Guinea coast, west and central Africa, eastern and southern Africa, and elsewhere on the continent are included in the Fine Arts Museums’ African art collection at the de Young Museum. The African art collection is presented thematically rather than geographically, emphasizing the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the art.
The Oceanic collections were charter collections of the de Young, their nucleus formed in 1894 at the California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. Additional Oceanic works of sculpture, basketry, tapa, ceramics, and lithics have since been acquired, bringing the holdings to more than 3,000. Highlights of the collection include a 10-foot (3.0 m) housepost from the Iatmul culture of Papua New Guinea, a group of brightly painted carvings used in malanggan ceremonials of New Ireland, a roll of feather money from Nindu Island of Santa Cruz, a fan from the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia, a rare navigation figure from the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, and a selection of powerful wood carvings from the Maori peoples of New Zealand.
The Art of the Americas collections are of national significance to art history, anthropology, and world history, and they have helped establish the de Young as a primary source for cultural research and study. The extensive collection of ancient American and Native American art comprises nearly 2,000 works of art from Meso-America, Central and South America, and the West Coast of North America. Art from cultures indigenous to the American continents was a defining feature of the Museum’s charter collection and continues to be an area of significant growth. Special galleries are devoted to ancient objects from Mexico, including an outstanding grouping of Teotihuacan murals.
The current building was completed by architects Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Fong + Chan designed the newly built structure, which reopened on October 15, 2005. Structural, civil and geotechnical engineering was provided by Rutherford & Chekene; Arup provided mechanical and electrical engineering. The terrain and seismic activity in San Francisco posed a challenge for the designers Herzog & de Meuron and principal architects Fong & Chan. To help withstand future earthquakes, “[the building] can move up to three feet (91 centimeters) due to a system of ball-bearing sliding plates and viscous fluid dampers that absorb kinetic energy and convert it to heat”.
A new museum structure located in the middle of an urban park was initially controversial. San Francisco voters twice defeated bond measures that were to fund the new museum project. After the second defeat, the museum itself planned to relocate to a location in the financial district. However, an effort led by generous supporters arose and kept the museum in the Golden Gate Park.
The designers were sensitive to the appearance of the building in its natural setting. Walter Hood, a landscape architect based in Oakland, designed the museum's new gardens. The entire exterior is clad in 163,118 sq ft (15,154.2 m2) of copper, which is expected to eventually oxidize and take on a greenish tone and a distinct texture to echo the nearby eucalyptus trees. In order to further harmonize with the surroundings, shapes were cut into the top to reveal gardens and courtyards where 48 trees had been planted. 5.12 acres (20,700 square meters) of new landscaping were planted as well, with 344 transplanted trees and 69 historic boulders. The building is clad with variably perforated and dimpled copper plates, whose patina will slowly change through exposure to the elements. This exterior facade was developed and fabricated by engineers at Zahner. A 144 ft. (44 m) observation tower allows visitors to see much of Golden Gate Park's Music Concourse (see below) and rises above the Park's treetops providing a view of the Golden Gate and Marin Headlands.
The twisting 144 foot (44 m) tall tower is a distinctive feature, and can be seen rising above the canopy of Golden Gate Park from many areas of San Francisco. The museum offers a two-floor museum store, free access to the lobby and tower, and a full-service cafe with outdoor seating in the Osher Sculpture Garden. The executive chef is Lance Holton.
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