The de Young Museum Partners with Google for Expanded Art Project

Google Art Project screenshot

San Francisco, Tuesday April 3—Google today announced its partnership with the de Young Museum as part of its efforts to bring the pioneering Google Art Project to San Francisco. The partnership—which includes other San Francisco and California museums including the the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—is part of a major global expansion of the project, which now counts 151 partners in 40 countries. In the United States alone, 29 partners in 16 cities are participating, ranging from prominent regional museums to top-notch university galleries. Thanks to Google, art lovers are able—with a few simple clicks of their fingers—to discover not just paintings, but also sculpture, street art and photographs. Creations from a wide variety of cultures and civilizations are represented, including Brazilian street graffiti, Islamic decorative arts and ancient African rock art.

The de Young Museum is contributing 31 works of art from its permanent collection of American paintings, including Museum favorites like Frederic Edwin Church’s Rainy Season in the Tropics, John Singer Sargent’s Le verre de porto (The Dinner Table at Night), Boatmen on the Missouri by George Caleb Bingham, and Albert Bierstadt’s California Spring. “The de Young Museum is excited to join other prominent museums from around the world participating in the Google Art Project,” says Julian Cox, chief administrative curator for Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, “This online collaboration affords us the opportunity to share with a wider audience outstanding works from our collection of American paintings.”

All told, more than 30,000 high-resolution objects are available, up from the original 1,000 in only nine museums. Street View images now cover 46 museums, with more on the way. “The new expanded Art Project demonstrates our commitment to all types of art—and cultures and civilizations all across the globe,” explains Amit Sood, Head of Art Project for Google. “The Art Project is no longer just about the Indian student wanting to visit Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is now also about the American student wanting to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.”

A wide range of institutions, large and small, traditional art museums as well as less traditional settings for great art, are represented in the expanded Art Project. Explore the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Continue the journey in India, exploring the Santiniketan Triptych in the halls of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi.

Significant technical improvements have been undertaken. Users may browse the content by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, collections and the time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to create even more engaging personal galleries. Street View images are now displayed in finer quality than the original version.

Key Features

  • Create Your Own Collection
    The “Create an Artwork Collection” feature allows users to save specific views of any of artworks and build their own personalized collection. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole collection can then be shared with friends and family. It’s an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections.
  • Discover, Search and Explore
    With such a large collection, it was important to provide the tools that allow users to explore across partners using the discover tool, and then further explore artworks by that artist across all collections. Custom search integration makes it easier than ever to browse through collections and find artworks instantly.
  • Multi Platform Support
    With this launch the Art Project finally comes to the tablet. The experience of viewing Art on a tablet and browsing through rich content truly comes to life. Currently the Android platform is supported, with an iPad version expected post launch.
  • Super High-Resolution
    Select museums provided images for more than 30,000 works of art. The resolution of these images, combined with a custom built zoom viewer, allows art-lovers to discover minute aspects of paintings they may never have seen up close before, such as the miniaturized people in the river of El Greco’s View of Toledo or individual dots in Seurat’s Grandcamp, Evening.

Approximately 46 partners selected one artwork to be photographed in extraordinary detail using super high-resolution or “gigapixel” photo-capturing technology. Each such image contains around 7 billion pixels, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye. Hard-to-see details suddenly become clear, such as the tiny figures toiling on the doomed construction of Brueghel’s Tower of Babel, the mysterious and intricate carved symbols of the Pedra del Sol in Mexico or the painstakingly detailed wonder of Seurat’s Pointillist masterpiece A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

“Google is committed to bringing all types of culture online and making it accessible. The Art Project demonstrates how the Internet helps spread knowledge,” says Nelson Matoos, VP Engineering, Google. The Art Project epitomizes Google’s commitment to bringing culture online and making it accessible to the widest possible audience.  Under the auspices of the Cultural Institute, Google is producing high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing the archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela, and creating 3D models of 18th-century French cities. Find out even more about Art Project on YouTube.

About the de Young Museum

The de Young, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and located in Golden Gate Park, is the nation’s sixth most visited art museum. It showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries; international textile arts and costumes; art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa and photography

Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118

Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Friday, 9:30 am–8:45 pm
Closed Monday