Guest Lecture: "The Pursuit of Grace: My Life with Wooden Boats," by Robert Darr, Director and Head Instructor at the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding

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Claude Monet, Sailboats on the Seine, 1874. Oil on canvas. FAMSF, gift of Bruno and Sadie Adriani, 1962.23

Florence Gould Theater

This talk, richly illustrated by photographer Scott Wall, will explore the timeless appeal of traditional wooden boats like the ones depicted on the canvases of the Impressionist painters featured in the Legion of Honor's current exhibition Impressionists on the Water. The presentation will examine the aesthetic elements that made the wooden boats of this period so appealing in general, and so inspiring to those who built and used them. The discussion will include the speaker's relationship to San Francisco legends like the schooner Gracie S. (made famous by Sterling Hayden, actor and author of Wanderer), and the fully restored sloop Freda (owned and operated by the Spaulding Center in Sausalito), both dating from the Impressionist period. The influence of these boats and others from this era will be revealed in Darr's own designs for wooden sailboats.

Robert Darr, director and head instructor at the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding, is the son of a schooner captain based in Tahiti. He has been a wooden boatbuilder for forty years.

Ticket Information

Lecture is free to the public. Museum admission is required.

Contact Information

Gregory Stock