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Housekeeping: The Thinker
applying wax to The Thinker


Photo by FAMSF

In this post, Geneva Griswold, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation, explains how she and her colleagues keep Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker looking its very best. Read on for more about how the job involves a propane torch, why boat exhaust is an issue, and how hard it is to get to that awkward spot on the back of the leg. Read More »

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10 Works of Art to Avoid If You're Hungry
Ed Ruscha, "Pepto-Caviar Hollywood",1970. Color screenprint, 15 x 42 1/2 in. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund, 2000.131.37.1 © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Pepto-Caviar Hollywood,1970. Color screenprint, 15 x 42 1/2 in. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund, 2000.131.37.1 © Ed Ruscha

Did you know that some of the prints in Ed Ruscha and the Great American West were made with edible materials? Pepto - Caviar Hollywood in particular was made with - you guessed it - Pepto Bismol and caviar, perhaps a reference to the excesses and obsessions of the Hollywood film industry.
 
What other works of art pique our interest in food? If you’re looking to tame the grumble in your belly, look to these works for inspiration on your next snack:

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Preserving a Giant: Treatment of a 19th-Century Photograph
Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Big Tree Grove, California after treatment

Howard Clinton Tibbitts, Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite National Park, 1899. Gelatin silver print, 39 3/8 x 29 7/16 in. Gift of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company

Anisha Gupta, Graduate Intern in Paper Conservation

Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, now open at the Legion of Honor, includes a spectacularly large photograph from the Museums’ collection, taken by Howard Clinton Tibbitts (1863–1937). Tibbitts was a San Francisco–based photographer who documented the American West for the Southern Pacific Railroad’s magazine Sunset, still published today. This photograph from 1899 depicts members of the U.S. Cavalry’s Troop F, who were charged with the protection of Yosemite from 1883 until 1916.

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Indispensable: Steve Ferrera
Detail of the artist working


“Indispensable” is a series that asks the de Young’s Artists in Residence to describe a tool that’s essential to their work.

 

Steve Ferrera was desperate, so he went to the Alameda Flea Market and bought a bag of used dental tools.

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Office Hours: An Interview with the Curators of Wild West
Peter Hurd Ranch painting

Peter Hurd, A Ranch on the Plains, 1954. Tempera on hardboard, 29 3/4 x 47 1/8 in. (75.6 x 119.7 cm). FAMSF, gift of the California Brewing Company, 54.37

Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, now open at the Legion of Honor, includes more than 170 works—from John Raphael Smith’s mezzotint, The Widow of an Indian Chief Watching Over the Arms of her Deceased Husband made in 1789, to photographs of the central valley taken by Matt Black in 2014—to trace an ever-changing sense of America’s frontier. We talked to the exhibition curators, Jim Ganz and Colleen Terry, about what visitors can expect.

This exhibition is made up entirely from works in our own collection. Does that present any special opportunities?

Jim Ganz: This is a chance to see some old favorites from the de Young in completely new contexts at the Legion of Honor, paired with works that they wouldn’t ordinarily be paired with. For example, Albert Bierstadt’s California Spring reflects the long tradition of European landscape painting, and it’s an idealized, bucolic view of the Sacramento Valley. Robert Bechtle’s Four Palm Trees, on view in the same gallery, was painted at Dixon, CA, only about 20 miles from the location depicted in the Bierstadt. 

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Ironing out Wrinkles // Fixing Earthquake Faults

Local humidification to reduce planar deformations.

José Luis Lazarte, Graduate Intern in Painting Conservation

When Alan Sonfist’s (b. 1946) California Earthquake came to the Paintings Conservation department for treatment, my first thought was: This graphite drawing on canvas is more a drawing on a textile than it is a painting. As such, the artwork fell between conservation specialties, and its treatment required collaboration among the Paintings, Paper, and Textiles Conservation departments at the Museums.

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