Collections

The California Palace of the Legion of Honor originated as the French pavilion in San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Alma de Bretteville Spreckels was so impressed with the pavilion that she offered to construct a permanent museum in its likeness, which was completed in 1924 and now stands as the Legion of Honor. Today, the Legion of Honor’s collection contains over 124,000 works of art and is recognized for its European decorative arts, sculpture and painting; Ancient art from throughout the Mediterranean and the Near East; and one of the largest collections of works on paper in the country.

  • Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599–1641)
February 7, 2014
The genius of Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck will be on display at the Legion of Honor beginning this week in his elegant Portrait of a Lady (ca. 1620), a work with an intriguing history that is tied to the museum’s own. Thomas Carr Howe Jr., director of the Legion of Honor from 1939 to 1968, was a leading figure with the “Monuments Men”—the art and museum professionals of the Monuments, Fine...
  • Ruins with Sibyl
October 7, 2013
Motivated by three important acquisitions, the curators of European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts have recently modified the presentation of works in Gallery 7 at the Legion of Honor, which features French and Italian Baroque and Rococo art. Colin B. Bailey, the Museums’ newly appointed director and an internationally respected art historian and curator specializing in 18th- and 19th-...
  • The Triumph of Fortitude
August 22, 2013
Starting August 31, 2013, the Legion of Honor’s Gallery 1 will display three gems from the Fine Arts Museums’ renowned collection of tapestries: The Triumph of Fortitude, The Triumph of Justice, and The Triumph of Prudence. This will be the first time in the Museums’ history that all three tapestries will be displayed together.These three tapestries belong to the series The Triumph of the Seven...
  • Sunflowers Along the Seine
August 22, 2013
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have received a generous bequest of three paintings from the estate of Diana Dollar Knowles: Sunflowers along the Seine (ca. 1885–1886), by Gustave Caillebotte, and Ruins with Prophet and Ruins with Sibyl (both 1731), by Giovanni Paolo Panini. These additions represent the first examples of each artist’s work to enter the collection of the Fine Arts Museums....
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European Painting
Ancient Art
Works on Paper
The Bowles Collection of 18th-Century English and French Porcelain