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Costume and Textile Arts

The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts contains more than 14,000 textiles and costumes from traditions around the world. A remarkable range of techniques is represented, including loom-woven textiles; nonwoven fabrics, such as bark cloth, felt, and knitting; and objects embellished with beading and embroidery.

Highlights from the collection include extraordinary Turkmen carpets, rare 12th- through 15th-century Central Asian and North Indian silks, the most important group of Anatolian kilims outside Turkey, European tapestries, exquisite ecclesiastical textiles, and contemporary Bay Area fiber art. The de Young is known for its 20th-century couture, particularly from the post–World War II era, with outstanding pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Madame Grés, and Yves Saint Laurent.

With holdings that span nearly three millennia and represent cultures from 125 countries, the textile arts collection enables the Museums to draw connections across cultures and enrich other areas of the permanent collection. Throughout the year the Lonna and Marshall Wais and Diana Dollar Knowles and Gorham B. Knowles costume and textile arts gallery hosts several exhibitions, featuring the diverse range of these collections, as well as important traveling exhibitions.

In addition to the larger rotating textiles presentations in the main gallery, the T. B. Walker Family Education Gallery houses small, didactic displays and contains study drawers illustrating representative pieces from the entire collection, highlighting different textile techniques. The Joan Diehl McCauley Study Center is available to researchers with a specific focus of study by appointment only.

Featured

The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection

Entrepreneur H. McCoy Jones (1897–1987) was a scholar and collector of nomadic tribal rugs, and the founder of the International Hajji Baba Society in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization of collectors, enthusiasts and scholars dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of fine textiles... View More

The European Tapestry Collection

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s European tapestry collection is one of the most important and diverse in the United States. Both the Museums’ de Young Museum and Legion of Honor have collected tapestries since their founding. While the de Young’s tapestries were judiciously selected and... View More

The George and Marie Hecksher Collection

In 1999, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Board Member George Hecksher and his wife, Marie, gave their major collection of early Middle Eastern and Central Asian rugs and rare Central Asian and North Indian silks to the Museums’ Textile Arts department. By this remarkable gift, the Hecksher’s... View More

The Jeffrey Appleby Collection

The Jeffrey Appleby Collection represents the majority of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s South American holdings, augmented by a modest number of exceptional pre-Hispanic and Spanish Colonial textiles. Collector and dealer Jeffrey Appleby gifted his large collection of Andean textiles to... View More

The Mrs. Gustave Brenner Textile Collection

Among the foundational holdings of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s textile arts collection is the Mrs. Gustave Brenner Textile Collection. Mrs. Gustave (Julia) Brenner (1866–1944) was a native San Franciscan and member of a prominent mercantile family. In the 1920s and 1930s, she donated... View More

The Western Costume Collection

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has collected and displayed Western women’s costume since its inception. Permanent costume galleries in the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum featured historic garments and portraits, while rotating exhibitions showcased costumes and accessories from the... View More

The Wolfgang and Gisela Wiedersperg Collection

In 1997, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco received a major collection of Turkmen weavings from San Francisco residents Wolfgang (1915–1999) and Gisela Wiedersperg (1919–2006). The couple had life-long interests in travel and collecting Turkmen carpets and textiles, which enabled them to build... View More