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Founded in 1895, the de Young’s original collections were born out of exhibitions featured in the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition organized by M.H. de Young. Today, the de Young museum is home to one of the most diverse and significant art collections in the western United States. Currently the de Young’s collection exceeds 27,000 works of art and is renowned for its holdings in American art of all periods, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and works on paper; the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and costumes and textiles representing a wide variety of Eastern and Western traditions.

Collections News & Noteworthy

Doré vase
March 1, 2015
In front of the de Young sits Poème de la vigne (Poem of the Vine) (1877–1878, cast in 1882), a monumental bronze vase by Gustave Doré (French, 1832–1883) that has been a feature of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s two institutions since 1895. Doré was one of the most prodigious artists of the 19th century, and few works illustrate the depth of his creative vision as well as...
Aspiration by Aaron Douglas
February 1, 2015
Aspiration (1936), by the Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas (1899–1979), is on view in Gallery 10 at the de Young. The painting is one of two extant paintings from a four-part mural cycle that Douglas created for the Hall of Negro Life building at the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. The work touches on many of the themes that characterized the creative expressions of...
David Hockney, Seven Yorkshire Landscape Videos, 2011. Eighteen digital videos synchronized and presented on eighteen 55-inch NEC screens to compromise a single artwork. Courtesy of the artist
January 1, 2015
This December, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco was awarded the 2014 YOUniversal Global Fine Art Award, one of a series of prizes recognizing the best fine art exhibitions and installations. The de Young’s presentation of David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition was selected for the YOUniversalaward by public vote from a nominee list culled from more than 1,000 exhibitions at more than...
Frank Stella, Lettre sur les aveugles II, 1974. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Foundation purchase, Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions
October 15, 2014
At age 23, Frank Stella (b. 1936) burst onto the New York art scene as an already mature artist with the inclusion of his now-legendary “black paintings” in the Sixteen Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Seeming to banish illusionistic space and pictorial allusions, as well as the possibility of narrative content, the black artworks served as embodiments of Stella’s...
Ed Ruscha, A Particular Kind of Heaven, 1983. Oil on canvas. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund, 2001.85
September 1, 2014
Ed Ruscha’s A Particular Kind of Heaven joins works by El Anatsui and Cornelia Parker currently on view in Gallery 16 at the de Young. An American artist associated with the Pop art and Conceptual art movements, Ruscha (b. 1937) is known for his paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs that record the shifting emblems of American life over the second half of the last century. The...
Teotihuacan mural
August 1, 2014
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco hold the largest and most important collection of Teotihuacan murals outside of Mexico. They came to the de Young as part of the bequest of the Harald Wagner estate. Wagner, a San Francisco–based architect, was a passionate art collector who had spent several years living in Mexico. In the mid-1960s he purchased a number of mural fragments from the site of...
Bear Effigy
March 31, 2014
The Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection is an extraordinary grouping of native North American art that spans a thousand years of artistic production. At its core are Southwestern ceramics from the 11th to the 20th centuries and masterworks of Navajo weaving from the 19th century. In 2013, the Weisel Family gave the museums 185 objects from these holdings; an additional 21 textiles are on loan to...
Google Art Project Street View
February 19, 2014
Now anyone in the world can virtually visit the de Young and explore six of its American art galleries through the Google Art Project. The de Young joined the Google Art Project in 2012 and over the last year has been one of 15 institutions across the United States to increase access to its collections significantly via this interactive, online tool.There are currently more than 200 works of art...
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American Painting
Tiffany Vase
Stela
textile arts
Works on Paper