Monday, July 02, 2012

"Green Venetian" Dale Chihuly 1990
On a recent visit to San Francisco, I finally got to see for myself the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. It is the fourth-most-visited art museum in North America, and the 16th-most visted in the world. Originally constructed in 1894 for the California Midwinter International Exposition. The chair of the exposition organizing committee was Michael H. de Young, co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Fine Arts Building was designed in a pseudo–Egyptian Revival style and decoratively adorned with images of Hathor, the cow goddess. 

In 1989 the building then housing the de Young suffered significant structural damage as a result of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The former de Young Museum structure closed to the public on December 31, 2000. The new de Young opened on October 15, 2005.

The new design by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron weaves the museum into the natural environment of the park. Historic elements from the former de Young, such as the sphinxes, the original palm trees, and the Pool of Enchantment, have been retained or reconstructed at the new museum.

 I guess I have the same passion, but not the money that Dorothy and George Saxe have because it was the exhibit of their collection that captured my imagination. Walking amongst works from such prominent Bay Area and West Coast artists including Robert Arneson, Dale Chihuly, Viola Frey, Sam Maloof, Manuel Neri, Peter Voulkos, and Beatrice Wood I was absolutely spell bound.

The couple got into collecting in the early 1980s. The Saxes discovered a catalogue from an exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass in Upstate New York, and this directed their interests to first collecting glass and ceramics. Of particular interest for me was seeing for the Dale Chihuly pieces in the collection. Fairly familiar with the work of this artist, I was surprised by some of the works in the collection including the pictured piece "Green Venetian." To learn more about the de Young.... .
(c) 2012 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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