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DEYOUM_110729_001.JPG: From http://www.famsf.org/pressroom/pressreleases/yua-spirit-arctic-eskimo-and-inuit-art-collection-thomas-g-fowler
Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler
Opening August 28, 2009
San Francisco, June 2009 -- On August 28, the de Young opens a new permanent exhibition in the Art of the Americas galleries, entitled, Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler. The word yua means spirit or soul. Its prominence in the title reflects the widely shared Eskimo/Inuit concept that all living things in the natural world, even inanimate objects possess a spirit or a soul that must be honored.
The outstanding artworks on view are all gifts to the museum from the Estate of the late Thomas G. Fowler (1943–2006), a multitalented artist, designer, collector and businessman. During his lifetime, he made many trips to Alaska, creating a comprehensive collection of rarity and scope that is unique in the Western United States. It was always his wish to share the collection with the widest audience possible. The collection is an excellent addition to the de Young Museum's West Coast Native American holdings. "Not only does the Thomas G. Fowler Collection enhance our Native American holdings, it is a perfect complement to the Museum's world-class collection of the arts of New Guinea, Africa, and the Americas," says John E. Buchanan, Jr., director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The inaugural exhibition includes nearly 100 objects from approximately 3rd century B.C. to the contemporary era, representing both the aesthetic and the utilitarian sensibility of Arctic life. Objects include figures, baskets, bowls, tools, pipes, boxes, snuff containers, snow goggles, kayak models, cribbage boards, animal carvings, dolls, and stone sculptures in a variety of materials, such as ivory, whalebone, walrus tusk, sea mammal intestine, wood, fiber, and stone.
Yua, Spirit of the Arctic contains intriguing pieces whose original uses range from ceremonial to recreational. One notable object is a model of a Kashim, or dance house, with eleven dancers and musicians performing to maintain the balance the community against the uncontrollable forces of nature and spirits that govern their survival. Another rare piece is an ornately carved, late 19th-century ivory cribbage board from Nunivak Island, detailing a large number of animals that appear to be eating each other, perhaps a stylized depiction of the life cycle.
This installation also includes a selection of pots gifted from Paul and Barbara Weiss. Over the last ten years, Paul and Barbara Weiss have traveled throughout the Southwestern United States, carefully selecting outstanding examples made by prominent Pueblo potters. The oldest pots come from the venerated pueblos of Acoma, San Ildefonso, and Hopi.
Eskimo and Inuit History
Many scholars believe the ancestors of the indigenous peoples of the North migrated to Alaska over the Bering Land Bridge more than 4,000 years ago and apparently lived in relative isolation until their first encounters with Europeans in the 16th century. In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska and whalers, fur trappers, and missionaries came to the area, bringing Western culture.
These foreign visitors purchased Inuit and Eskimo objects as souvenirs and as a result, the native people began to create varied pieces for trade with the foreigners. During the 19th century, most of the Inuit artwork was made specifically for sale or early tourist trade. Today, the practice of creating art for sale continues.
Thomas G. Fowler
Thomas G. Fowler, from Stamford, Connecticut, was more than an avid collector; he was an artist, designer, illustrator, outdoorsman, and traveler. He had a lifetime appreciation for the Far North and embraced the Inuit aesthetic and culture. His collection started in the 1970s with his first piece of Inuit art, and led to the founding of the Inua Gallery and the 400-piece large Thomas G. Fowler Collection. In 1975, he started a major graphic design firm in Connecticut, Tom Fowler, Inc; which in 2008 updated its name to TFI Envision, Inc.
Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in close consultation with Chuna McIntyre, a Yup'ik artist and performer born in Alaska, and Roslyn Tunis, a noted authority and independent curator. The presenting curator is Kathleen Berrin, FAMSF curator-in-charge of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
DEYOUM_110729_050.JPG: From http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/collections/paul-e-barbara-h-weiss-collection-pueblo-pottery
The Paul E. & Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery
Storage jar (olla), ca. 1890–1910. New Mexico, Acoma Pueblo. Earthenware, pigment. 2007.75.1
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The Paul E. and Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery represents a significant gift of Native American art to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Over the last ten years, Paul and Barbara Weiss have traveled throughout the southwestern United States, carefully selecting outstanding examples of pottery, the oldest of which come from the venerated pueblos of Acoma, San Ildefonso, and Hopi. The collection also includes contemporary pieces made by some of today's most prominent potters from pueblos with longstanding traditions of excellence in pottery making.
Pueblo pottery is a dynamic and evolving Native American art form. The combined elements of community and family are integral to understanding this unique art practice. Ancestral patterns and methods are handed down through generations and often identify artists as members of a particular family. The skill and craftsmanship evident in each pot not only demonstrate the talent of the individual artist but also the continuation of a rich cultural heritage that has been unfolding for centuries. Several families have made significant contributions to this genre, and names like Tafoya, Martinez, Lewis, Chino, Gutierrez, and Nampeyo are synonymous with outstanding craftsmanship and ingenuity.
A representative selection of pottery from this collection is currently on view in the Art of the Americas gallery.
DEYOUM_110729_074.JPG: Central America and Andean Areas
DEYOUM_110729_129.JPG: Stela with Queen Ix Mutal Ahaw
DEYOUM_110729_140.JPG: User comment: According to the curator's card in the museum, this is the information on this object:
"Spiked vessel or incense burner in the form of a dog
Gift of Gail & J. Alec Merriam"
Unfortunately, my photo of the card is not too clear, so I couldn't read the actual place where it comes from in Guatemala, but it is a Mayan object from the post-classic period. The entry for this picture in the blog "Agora de Arte Maya" (in Spanish) is:
DEYOUM_110729_202.JPG: Ancient Mesoamerica
DEYOUM_110729_263.JPG: User comment: According to the curator's card from the de Young Museum:
Central Maya area (Mexico o Guatemala)
Gift of Charles and Ivonne Merrin, 1998.183.1a-b
Two-part clay censer (consisting of a top and a bottom) were placed upon altars and used for burning incense during prayers. Copal (a fragrant tree resin) was put inside the lid and lit. Smoke rose up through the chimney-like tube at the back. This censer has a Teotihuacan face in the center and a butterfly headdress above. Butterflies, often represented on incense burners, may have symbolized death or fertility."
This object is further described in the Agora de Arte Maya (in Spanish) in the entry below:
AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
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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