de Young

Celebrities in our Closets

Clothes tell a story. Here at the Fine Arts Museums, our closets are filled with gowns, costumes, and accessories worn by countless cultural icons of days gone by. Today we give you a rare glimpse into our vaults as we reveal some of the most famous skeletons in our closet!

Fred Astaire

We don’t have any top hats, white ties or tails worn by the light-as-air Mr. Astaire, but we do have this bright red Chinese costume (with shoes!) that he wore in the “Limehouse Nights” sequence of MGM’s film Ziegfeld Follies, 1944.

Jacket, pants and shoes for Chinese film costume, Fred Astaire, 1944. United States. Orange-red wool, red-gold lame, red suede. Theater and Dance Collection, gift of Mrs. Gladys Lloyd Robinson. T&D1962.115a-d

Will Work for Art: Rose Burke

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we step into the storeroom to meet Rose Burke, a buyer for the Museum Stores. Originally from right here in San Francisco, Burke has been with the Museums for six years.

When Paper is More than a Surface

Paper is fundamental to traditional printmaking, but paper as a medium can be as diverse as the images printed on its surface. Surface Tension: Contemporary Prints from the Anderson Collection (on view at the de Young through January 15, 2012) puts paper front and center, exploring the ways in which artists from the late 1960s to today engage paper as more than just a surface.

Though no ink touched the paper in Josef Albers's Embossed Linear Construction series (1969),  he used embossing, a traditional printmaking process, to transform ordinary sheets of watercolor paper into subtle bas-relief constructions that extend into the viewer’s space.

Josef Albers (American, 1888–1976). Embossed Linear Construction 2-D, from a portfolio of 8 inkless embossings, 1969. Inkless embossing on 300-gram Arches watercolor paper. Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation. 1996.74.17.8

More Real than Real: The Photography of Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Photographs, a ubiquitous component of contemporary life, serve as an ever-evolving record of our lives and those of our friends and family. Children provide an immediate source of inspiration, and many new parents quickly adopt the role of amateur photographer.

FRAME|WORK: Magnolia Blossom by Imogen Cunningham

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature an iconic photograph by renowned Bay Area photographer Imogen Cunningham. Magnolia Blossom is currently not on view, so take some time to stop and smell the flowers (virtually)!

Will Work for Art: Christopher Lentz

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we introduce you to the fabulous Christopher Lentz, Manager of Visitor Services and Volunteer Programs. Originally from Nashville (by way of Honolulu), Christopher has been with the Museums for over two years.

The Kilims of Caroline and H. McCoy Jones

In 1980, H. McCoy Jones announced that he and his wife, Caroline, would donate his entire private collection of more than six hundred Central Asian carpets to the Fine Arts Museums. Two years later, Cathryn M. Cootner was appointed as the de Young’s first textile curator (her tenure as curator-in-charge would run through 1995). Cootner’s robust acquisition and exhibition program transformed the Museums into a well-respected repository for high quality textiles and oriental rugs. Chief among these was a watershed exhibition of Caroline McCoy-Jones’s unsurpassed collection of Anatolian kilims in 1991. We took a moment to sit down with Cathy Cootner to reflect on the McCoy Joneses and their spectacular kilims twenty years later.

Finding Picasso

While the museum is closed to the public most Mondays, it welcomes hundreds of students and teachers to visit special exhibitions, such as Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris. You may nostalgically remember this kind of field trip as day off from the classroom, but the education department’s school programs team makes the field trip a “day on” for young learners.

FRAME|WORK: Anti-Mass by Cornelia Parker

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a unique sculpture that unites art and science. Cornelia Parker's striking Anti-Mass is currently on view at the de Young.

Cornelia Parker (English, b. 1956). Anti-Mass, 2005. Charcoal and wire. Museum purchase, Friends of New Art and the American Art Trust Fund in honor of Harry S. Parker III and Stephen A. Nash. 2006.2

Self-guided Tour in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month at the de Young

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every September 15 through October 15. California's identity is deeply rooted in Hispanic culture, and its influence can be felt throughout the streets of San Francisco and throughout the Fine Arts Museums. Here at the de Young, the Art of the Americas and the American Art department boast significant artworks by artists of Hispanic descent . We hope that you enjoy this self-guided tour of the artwork created by this incredibly rich and diverse cultural group.

El mes de la Herencia Hispana se celebra empezando el 15 de septiembre y concluye el 15 de octubre. La identidad de California está profundamente arraigada en la cultura hispana y su influencia se puede sentir a lo largo de las calles de San Francisco y en los Fine Arts Museums . Aquí en el museo de Young los departamentos del Arte de las Américas y el arte de América cuentan con obras de arte significantes de artistas de decendencia Hispana. Esperamos que disfrute de este recorrido autoguiado de la obra de arte creada por este grupo cultural importante y diverso.

Feathered Serpent (detail), A.D. 600–750. Mexico, Teotihuacan, Techinantitla. Volcanic ash, lime, mineral pigment, and mud backing. Bequest of Harald J. Wagner. 1985.104.1a-b

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