Fans of the Eighteenth Century

March 31, 2018

Fans have served as accessories of fashion and utility since antiquity but reached their peak production and use in eighteenth-century Europe. Made from and embellished by precious materials such as ivory, mother-of-pearl, and silver and gold leaf, eighteenth-century fans also featured designs that reflected the spirit of their times. Fans addressed current events as well as themes of broad interest, including biblical and mythological tales and romanticized domestic and pastoral vignettes. Fans of the Eighteenth Century explores this quintessential period of fan production through a selection of examples from the permanent collection.

This exhibition is presented as a complement to Casanova: The Seduction of Europe at the Legion of Honor (February 10–May 28, 2018).

Image: "The Noble Wedding", 1715–1725. Italy. Vellum, paper, mother-of-pearl, metal, and jewel; opaque watercolor and carved, incised, and gilded sticks and guards; rivet; 11 in. (27.9 cm) length, 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm) width (open). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mrs. Reginald Rives, 1978.10.5a