March 31, 2018April 28, 2019

Fans of the Eighteenth Century

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.

Image: "The Noble Wedding" (detail), 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

Here/Now

Fashioning Fans

Fans have served as accessories of fashion and objects of utility since antiquity, but reached th

The Language of Fans

While fans were a staple of the eighteenth-century woman’s wardrobe, visitors to the exhibition