Art of the Americas

The Art of the Americas collection provides unique perspectives into cultures and civilizations that thrived in the Western hemisphere long before the Spanish conquest. Most objects in these collections date between 200 BC and the mid-16th century AD, with a strong focus in Mesoamerican and Andean art. Almost all of these ancient arts were used in religious or funerary contexts. As a result of the historic Harald Wagner bequest, the de Young is home to the largest and most important group of Teotihuacan murals outside of Mexico. Additional highlights from the Art of the Americas include Maya and West Mexico artworks generously donated by Gail and Alec Merriam and the Lewis K. Land family; an extraordinary bequest of exemplary Inuit and Eskimo art from the Thomas G. Fowler collection; and pueblo pottery from the Paul E. and Barbara H. Weiss collection.

The Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection is an extraordinary anthology of Native American art spanning nearly a thousand years of artistic production, from 11th-century Mimbres ceramics to 19th-century baskets and pots by recognized artists such as the Hopi-Tewa artist Nampeyo, as well as additional masterworks of Navajo weaving. This significant gift allows the de Young to present a comprehensive survey of Native American art with a distinctly Western focus, stretching from the Arctic Circle to the American Southwest. Included in the collection are more than 50 objects made by artists working in the Mimbres ceramic tradition, practiced from roughly AD 1000 to 1150; Navajo blankets—including two rare first-phase examples (ca. 1820s‒50s)—and several classic-period Navajo serapes; major pieces of monumental Northwest Coast art; and the first Plains ledger drawings to enter the Museums’ permanent holdings.

Special Collections

Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler

Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler is a permanent installation in the Art of the Americas gallery that presents a selection of objects from the Arctic Circle. The collection was donated to the Museums by the late Thomas G. Fowler (1943–2006). Mr... View More

The Lewis K. and Elizabeth M. Land Collection

Lewis K. Land (1904–1987) was a remarkable collector and businessman. From his early career in India and throughout a lifetime of wide-ranging interests, collecting became, for Land, a means of solidifying his varied intellectual pursuits. Geology and mineralogy were his first passions, but as... View More

The Harald Wagner Collection of Teotihuacan Murals

The Harald Wagner collection of Teotihuacan murals is the largest and most important outside of Mexico. The murals are remarkable for their quality, condition and iconographic breadth. Secretly removed from their site in the 1960s, they were left to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in a... View More

The Paul E. & Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery

The Paul E. and Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery represents a significant gift of Native American art to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Over the last ten years, Paul and Barbara Weiss have traveled throughout the southwestern United States, carefully selecting outstanding... View More

The Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection

The Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection is an extraordinary anthology of Native American art assembled over three decades by Thom Weisel, a pioneer in the development of the tech industry in Silicon Valley and a noted collector of and advocate for Native American art. The collection includes... View More