Blog Posts: August 2011

FRAME|WORK: An Extraordinary Kilim from the Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a monumental kilim that will be featured prominently in the upcoming exhibition The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection, which opens September 10.

Kilim, 17th century. Turkey, Anatolia, Aegean region, Usak Province. Wool; slit-tapestry weave. 383.5 x 182.9 cm (151 x 72 in.). The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection, gift of Caroline McCoy-Jones. 2003.87.4

Word Gallery: Passage

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. So we thought we'd take you into the art historical word gallery to provide some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques, or movements in art.

A Life of Books: Remembering David Logan

Favorite Things: An Exhibition of Artist Books in Memory of David Logan, 1918–2011, a selection of books from the Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books, is currently on view at the Legion of Honor in through February 12, 2012. 

Comprising approximately 300 volumes, the Logan Collection is one of the foremost collections of modern artists’ books (also called livres d’artiste, or illustrated books) to find a home within a museum.

David and Reva Logan

FRAME|WORK: Fuji in Clear Weather (Red Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature the graphically arresting Red Fuji by renowned Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai. A well-known Japanese saying suggests that you would be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji once, but a fool to do so twice. Since it is currently not on view, you would be a fool not to enjoy this virtual viewing of Mount Fuji!

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849). Fuji in Clear Weather (Red Fuji), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, ca. 1830–1832. Color woodcut. Gift of Miss Carlotta Mabury. 54755.456

Word Gallery: Aerial Perspective

Throughout art history, scholars have devised a special vocabulary to talk about art. These terms are very useful, but they are not always self-explanatory. So we thought we'd explore the art historical word gallery to provide you with some definitions commonly used to describe artistic styles, techniques or movements in art.

Aerial perspective

Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568–1625 Antwerp). Village Scene with a Canal, 1609. Oil on copper. The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.

Ancient Art Teachers Institute at the Legion of Honor

The Fine Arts Museums’ collection of antiquities has played a central role in the development of both the de Young and the Legion of Honor. This summer, we offered a teacher institute for sixth grade teachers to enrich their schools by using our ancient art collections in their curricula. This program, presented in partnership with the UC Berkeley History–Social Studies Project (UCBH-SSP), gave teachers the tools to teach students how to think like historians.

The Kilims Are Coming!

In anticipation of The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection (which opens September 10) the Textiles Conservation team is busy at work preparing each rug for display. It is a meticulous and time-consuming process!

First, the kilims have to be taken out of storage. Normal cardboard contains acid that can cause staining on textiles, which is why kilims are rolled onto blue, acid-free cardboard tubes for storage.To avoid harm from dust, the tubes are shrouded in unbleached cotton fabric.

FRAME|WORK: The Thinker by Auguste Rodin

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an iconic work by the father of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin. The Thinker is currently on view in the Court of Honor at the Legion of Honor.

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917). The Thinker, 1904. Cast bronze. Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels. 1924.18.1

Thinking Outside the Crayon Box at the Friday Nights Art Table

Guest blogger Danica Gomes is an intern in the Public Programs Department.

The art table has become a fixture of Friday Nights at the de Young. Every Friday kids, adults, regulars, and newcomers all crowd around paper-covered tables to take part in the evening’s hands-on art project. The projects are created and led by one of three museum artists, Suzanne Couture, Christian Davies, or Lisa Hubbard, and are always reflective of and inspired by special exhibitions. This summer, drawing on Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, the art table has adapted Picasso’s definitive modes of expression and represented themes into activities designed for the general public.

Lights, Camera, Action! Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo at the Legion of Honor

This Saturday, August 13, marks the birthdate of legendary British film director Alfred Hitchcock, who was born in London in 1899. Famous for his psychological thrillers and virtuoso use of suspense, Hitchcock had a particular affinity for the San Francisco Bay Area, using it as a setting for several of his films, including The Birds (1963), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and perhaps most famously, Vertigo (1958).

Great Women Artists at the de Young

Forty years ago, Linda Nochlin published her seminal article "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" spurring art historians and curators to reexamine the contributions of women artists over time. Since then, the landscape of the world’s art institutions has changed drastically. Here at the de Young, we often receive inquiries about the presence (or perceived lack) of women artists in the museum. In response, we have created a self-guided tour highlighting women artists at the de Young.

FRAME|WORK: An ancient Egyptian coffin from the Thirtieth Dynasty

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an enigmatic coffin from Egypt's turbulent past. Currently on view at the Legion of Honor, this ancient artwork provides insight into Egypt's past.

Will Work for Art: Paul Palacios

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we take you into the tech shop, where preparator Paul Palacios installs the art that makes the galleries and exhibitions you see possible! Originally from Texas, Paul has been with the Museums for almost thirteen years, minus the two he spent working at the Asian Art Museum during the construction of the new de Young.

A Day in the Life of the Museum Ambassadors

Last week you met the Museum Ambassadors, a highly motivated group of high school students trained to educate younger students about all things art. Today, we give you a sneak peek into the work that they do here at the Museums.

Weeks before we begin giving community tours, we memorize our scripts with our fellow ambassadors.

FRAME|WORK: Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a sumptuous portrait of an 18th-century beauty painted by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun in the wake of the French Revolution. The lovely Hyacinthe is currently on view in Gallery 16 at the Legion of Honor!

Every Which Way But Up

When installing a painting or sculpture for exhibition, determining the correct orientation of the work is (perhaps obviously) paramount. When discussing modern art, a seemingly simple question like “Which side is up?” can become much more complicated; and occasionally when dealing with abstract art, this determination can be downright perplexing.

Two paintings recently reinstalled in Gallery 50 at the de Young have raised this question for years. Since they first arrived at the Museums, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Petunias and Arthur Dove’s Sea Gull Motive have puzzled viewers and art historians alike.

Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887–1986). Petunias, 1925. Oil on hardboard panel. Museum purchase, gift of the M. H. de Young Family. 1990.55. © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum