Blog Posts: July 2011

Will Work for Art: Ann Hedges

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we take you into the whimsical world of the Flower Committee, where we meet artist Ann Hedges. Originally from New York City, Ann has been volunteering with the Museums for fifteen years.

FRAME|WORK: Mantelpiece for Thurlow Lodge by the Herter Brothers

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an extraordinary piece of American decorative art, the Mantelpiece for Thurlow Lodge, currently installed in Gallery 23 at the de Young.

Follow that Art! Balcomb Greene's "Six-Sided Planes" Is Finally on View

For the past six weeks, we have followed the progress of Balcomb Greene's Six-Sided Planes through the museum on its way to exhibition. We began tracking the painting's journey when it first entered the Fine Arts Museums via the registration department. It then went on to paintings conservation for a makeover before heading on to the Board of Trustees for final approval. Next it re-entered the registration department for final acquisition, after which it was photographed for record-keeping purposes. And last week, we learned about the work's art historical context and significance from the American art department's curatorial perspective. Now, after all the research, preparation, and planning, Six-Sided Planes is finally on display in Wilsey Court!

Art technician Paul Tavian wheels the painting through Wilsey Court.

About Last Friday Night...

Every Friday Night at the de Young is an adventure! Each week, the intrepid Public Programs team puts together an evening to remember, and no one Friday Night is alike. It is huge undertaking that requires the careful orchestration of many moving parts. Navigating an endless array of logistics, including a sea of chairs, flyers, AV equipment, and feather boas (yes, boas), the Friday Nights team seamlessly works together to present museumgoers with an experience they'll never forget! We thought you'd be interested to see what goes on behind the scenes of what has become a weekly institution in San Francisco's nightlife.

3:00 p.m.

Supplies for the night's events are laid out on the 7th floor of the tower, including a detailed description of the night's many events.

“Invisible Passage” at the de Young

Commissioned by the de Young Museum’s Cultural Encounters Program during Todd Brown’s July 2009 tenure as Artist-in-Residence, Invisible Passage is now back on display in the Kimball Education Gallery as part of his current Artist Fellows project. The painting, measuring 33 feet by 9.5 feet, is Brown’s largest work to date.

Todd Brown working on Invisible Passage in July 2009

Discovering Connections: Teaching Institute Hosted by the Asian Art Museum, SFMOMA, and the Fine Arts Museums

For the past three years the education departments of the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have met to explore how collaborative programming can better support Bay Area teachers. Last week, building on this objective, the museums jointly hosted a four-day institute for high school teachers that focused on the theme of Discovering Connections.

Picasso: The Women Behind the Artist

Discover the women, the passion and the heartbreak behind Pablo Picasso’s work presented in Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris currently on view at the de Young. Behind every great artist, there is a muse. For Picasso, his romantic relationships provided inspiration for countless paintings,  drawings and sculptures.

FRAME|WORK: The Juno Ballgown by Christian Dior

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a fabulous ballgown designed by fashion icon Christian Dior. This garment is currently not on display, so we offer you this exclusive online viewing!

Special Preview of Friday Night's Lecture with Kieran Ridge

Friday Nights at the de Young feature special lectures related to current exhibitions at the de Young. This Friday, July 22 Kieran Ridge presents "Picasso and Modern Literature: Liquid Architecture of the Palace of Marvels," a discussion of Picasso as a writer and the influence of contemporary authors and literature in his art. This is the first of three lectures presented in partnership with Alliance Française in celebration of Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.

Mr. Ridge is chair of the English Department at The Marin School, where he teaches literature and film studies. To pique your interest in this fascinating subject, we have asked Mr. Ridge to answer a few questions about Picasso, the writer!

Drawn to Drawing at Summer Camp

“One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil. “—Balthus

The Drawn to Drawing week of summer camp at the de Young was very exciting! Read on to learn about the master artists’ experience (8–9 year olds).

Drawn to Drawing introduced the young artists to new materials, new ways of defining what a drawing is and new ways of looking at the museum’s collection.

The artists were captivated by different materials and tools. Each artist had a sketchbook, which over time with new additions and explorations, told a story about their art making experience during the week.

Summer camper drawing

Follow that Art! Balcomb Greene's Six-Sided Planes in Context

Last week, we followed Six-Sided Planes into the photgraphy studio where it was shot for record identification. Today we learn about the history and significance of this painting from the curatorial perspective.

My name is Emma Acker, and I’m a curatorial assistant in the American Art department at the Fine Arts Museums. In May of this year, I presented Balcomb Greene’s Six-Sided Planes as a potential purchase to the Acquisitions Committee of our Board of Trustees.

Artist Fellows Showcase featuring Campo Santo, Nefasha Ayer, and Short Films by Kevin Epps

On July 8, visitors who attended Friday Nights at the de Young had the chance to experience the Artist Fellows Showcase, which featured contributions from the first class of Artist Fellows: Campo Santo, Kevin Epps and Todd T. Brown.

The World-famous "David" Violin is on View at the Legion of Honor!

For a limited one-month engagement, the famed violin “The David” made by Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri (del Gesú) is on display at the Legion of Honor through August 10!

Bequeathed to the Museums in 1989 by Jascha Heifetz, who was one of the world’s greatest violinists, this instrument currently spends most of its time at the San Francisco Symphony in the skilled hands of Concertmaster Alexander “Sascha” Barantschik.

Guiseppe Antonio Guarneri del Gesu (Italian, 1687–1745). Violin, ca. 1740. Spruce and maple. Bequest of Jascha Heifetz. 1989.6.1

Will Work for Art: Jim Ganz

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we take you into the curatorial department at the Legion of Honor to meet Jim Ganz, curator of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, Jim has been with the Museums for three years and one month (but who's counting, anyway?).

FRAME|WORK: Lewis Powell (Alias Payne), Conspirator, Seated and Manacled by Alexander Gardner

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a powerful Civil War-era photograph from The Album of the Lincoln Conspiracy. This work is currently not on view, so we have provided an exclusive online viewing!

Follow that Art! Balcomb Greene's Six-Sided Planes is Ready for its Close-up

Now that the Board of Trustees has approved the purchase of Balcomb Greene's Six-Sided Planes and it has been permanently accessioned into the Museums' collection, the next step is to make identification photography of the artwork. This photo will be used for internal recordkeeping on the collections management database and the website.

Conservation Treatment of a Monumental Print

A monumental 17th-century etching/engraving by the artist Jacques Callot is currently on view in the Jacqueline and Peter Hoefer Print Study Room at the Legion of Honor. In addition to a dramatic naval battle scene, the print depicts many fascinating details of daily life, which are visible upon close inspection. Although the print was acquired by the museums in 1968, it had never been exhibited due to condition issues.

Follow that Art! Balcomb Greene's Six-Sided Planes Becomes a Permanent Resident of the de Young

After Six-Sided Planes received its makeover in the paintings conservation lab, it was transported to the Legion of Honor for review during the full Board meeting (there are several sub-committee Board meetings that take place throughout the year).

Old Masters in Context: The Dutch Golden Age at the Legion of Honor

Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection opens this Saturday, July 9 at the Legion of Honor. In preparation, bone up on your 17th-century history with these fun facts about the Dutch Golden Age and paintings on view in our permanent collection!

ca. 1600 | Wigs and dress trains become fashionable. William Shakespeare writes Hamlet.

1609 | Johannes Kepler announces important laws of planetary motion.

1611 | King James Bible is published.

1612 | Peter Paul Rubens paints The Tribute Money.

On view in Gallery 14.

FRAME|WORK: Boatmen on the Missouri by George Caleb Bingham

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature the iconic Boatmen on the MIssouri by George Caleb Bingham, currently on view in Gallery 23 at the de Young.