Finding Fine Art in San Francisco

Finding Fine Art in San Francisco

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I’m not an “Art Museum Kind of Guy.”

That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate “fine art” or “artsy-craftsy” art.

I’d just rather see it in place, someplace, rather than in a stuffy old museum.

(Dustin Gaffke Flickr Photo)
(Dustin Gaffke Flickr Photo)

But now and again, I make an exception to my general disinterest in visiting art museums, and in San Francisco, I make two.

Found in My Own Backyard: San Francisco’s Museum Gem,” took you on a virtual tour of one of those exceptions: The Legion of Honor, located in Lincoln Park, on the far west side of the city, just blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

This time I’ll show you the second of San Francisco’s Fine Art Museums, the deYoung in Golden Gate Park, a little less than three miles and an eight minute drive to the southeast of the Legion of Honor.

The original pseudo–Egyptian Revival style building that was home to the de Young Museum was constructed in Golden Gate Park for the California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894. The chair of the exposition organizing committee was Michael H. de Young, co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle.

It was heavily damaged by the 1906 earthquake that ravaged the city. It was redesigned as a Spanish-Plateresque-style building ala the structures in San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It was completed in 1919, transferred by de Young to the city, and in 1921, a central section with a tower was added.

Mother Nature whacked the deYoung again during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The museum remained opened, but was closed on New Year’s Eve of 2001, rebuilt with an almost “23rd century galaxy starcruiser” exterior and a new tower that provides sweeping 360-degree views of the city. The museum reopened to the public on October 15, 2005, almost 16 years to the day that the earthquake hit.

(Adam Englehart Flickr Photo)
(Adam Englehart Flickr Photo)

Along the way, Avery Brundage’s vast collection of Asian art which was originally housed in the deYoung moved to its own space in downtown San Francisco.

Today, the deYoung focuses on art from Africa, the Americas, and Oceania.

(Sacramento Railroad Station, William Hahn, deYoung Museum)

Come along with me as we take a quick, one-minute video tour of the deYoung.

The deYoung is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays.

Within San Francisco, the museum can be reached by San Francisco Municipal Railway (“MUNI”) buses and streetcars which in turn to connect to other San Francisco Bay Area public transportation systems. If you drive, it’s best to park in the very convenient (although somewhat pricey) underground Golden Gate Park Music Concourse Garage.

Audio and docent-led tours are available. Meals and beverages are served in the museum cafe. Books and a wide variety of gift items are sold in the museum store and online via the museum Website.

The Hamon Education Tower Observation Deck closes one hour prior to museum closing time.

(Lars Ploughmann Flickr Photo)
(Lars Ploughmann Flickr Photo)

Click here for more information about visiting the deYoung.

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One Reply to “Finding Fine Art in San Francisco”

  1. I am ashamed to say that I have never visited the deYoung. I have an excuse that I live a about two hours away, but it’s really because “I am not a Museum Kind of Gal.” I really enjoyed this article, learning about the history. It was engaging, fun, well-researched and the video made me want to visit. I look forward to reading more!

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