Collections

Masters of Masquerade

As we simultaneously prepare for Halloween and the opening weekend of Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power from the Kunsthisorisches Museum, Vienna (which opens tomorrow, October 29), what better topic to kick off the festivities than a post about the sumptuous tradition of masquerade?

FRAME|WORK: A Mask Fan from Eighteenth-Century England

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, in a joint celebration of Halloween and the imminent opening of Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power, we feature an extraordinary mask fan from the department of Textile Arts.

Mask fan, England, 1740–1750. Opaque watercolor on vellum; ivory sticks. Gift of Susanne King Morrison in memory of Elizabeth Brant King. 1980.66

Finding Hidden Treasures at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

The annual San Francisco Fall Antiques Show (SFFAS) has longstanding ties with the Fine Arts Museums, sharing benefactors, lenders, board members, and volunteers, including special project curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Maria Santangelo. For the past several years, Santangelo has donated her curatorial capabilities to the exhibition that serves as the centerpiece of the fair.

An Interview with October Artist-in-Residence Glenda Joyce Hape

The Artist-in-Residence program resumes this month in the Kimball Education Gallery with Glenda Joyce Hape, a Māori artist from New Zealand. Glenda is a weaver who combines traditional and contemporary techniques and materials to create Māori kakahu, or cloaks. We recently sat down with Glenda to discuss her background, practice, and inspiration.

FRAME|WORK: A Māori cloak

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an exemplary Māori cloak from the Museums’ inaugural collections (currently on display at the de Young) in honor of the October Artist-in-Residence, Māori weaver Glenda Joyce Hape.

Celebrities in our Closets

Clothes tell a story. Here at the Fine Arts Museums, our closets are filled with gowns, costumes, and accessories worn by countless cultural icons of days gone by. Today we give you a rare glimpse into our vaults as we reveal some of the most famous skeletons in our closet!

Fred Astaire

We don’t have any top hats, white ties or tails worn by the light-as-air Mr. Astaire, but we do have this bright red Chinese costume (with shoes!) that he wore in the “Limehouse Nights” sequence of MGM’s film Ziegfeld Follies, 1944.

Jacket, pants and shoes for Chinese film costume, Fred Astaire, 1944. United States. Orange-red wool, red-gold lame, red suede. Theater and Dance Collection, gift of Mrs. Gladys Lloyd Robinson. T&D1962.115a-d

Word Gallery: Granulation

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. Enter into the art historical word gallery, where we provide some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques, or movements in art.

FRAME|WORK: A Ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, Spain

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an extraordinary Spanish ceiling from the era of Christopher Columbus, currently installed at the Legion of Honor.

Anonymous maker, Ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, Spanish 1482–1503. Painted, gilded, and composed wood. Gift of Mrs. Richard Ely Danielson and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick. 46.16

Will Work for Art: Rose Burke

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we step into the storeroom to meet Rose Burke, a buyer for the Museum Stores. Originally from right here in San Francisco, Burke has been with the Museums for six years.

When Paper is More than a Surface

Paper is fundamental to traditional printmaking, but paper as a medium can be as diverse as the images printed on its surface. Surface Tension: Contemporary Prints from the Anderson Collection (on view at the de Young through January 15, 2012) puts paper front and center, exploring the ways in which artists from the late 1960s to today engage paper as more than just a surface.

Though no ink touched the paper in Josef Albers's Embossed Linear Construction series (1969),  he used embossing, a traditional printmaking process, to transform ordinary sheets of watercolor paper into subtle bas-relief constructions that extend into the viewer’s space.

Josef Albers (American, 1888–1976). Embossed Linear Construction 2-D, from a portfolio of 8 inkless embossings, 1969. Inkless embossing on 300-gram Arches watercolor paper. Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation. 1996.74.17.8

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