• New acquisitions for the de Young
  • Chihuly by the numbers
  • Have you seen this mural?
  • Reinstallation of Legion galleries 2–5
Friday Nights at the de Young
The de Young is open Fridays until 8:45 pm with special programs for everyone.

  • August 15: Hot Brazilian Nights and "Seeing Peace"
  • August 22: Hot Brazilian Nights: Forró for All and closing reception for Reddy Lieb

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Sunday Jazz Brunch
at the Legion of Honor

Sundays from 11 am–2 pm. Enjoy a prix fixe brunch and live music by the Josh Workman World Jazz Trio in the Legion Café. Reservations: 415.750.7633.

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Cinema Supper Club: From the Golden Gate to the Silver Screen
Every Thursday night at the Legion of Honor from July 10 through August 21, this series presents movies shot in the City by the Bay, dining in the Legion Café, and an opportunity to view the exhibition Women Impressionists after hours–and without the weekend crowds.

  • August 21: Bullitt

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Become a de Young or Legion of Honor Survey Volunteer!
The Museums are looking for outgoing, articulate volunteers to conduct our annual museum experience surveys. Do you enjoy talking to people and gathering information? Enjoy the Museums’ permanent exhibitions and current special exhibitions (Chihuly and Women Impressionists) for FREE when you complete your volunteer shift. Shifts are August 21, 22, 23, and 24 and August 28, 29, 30, and 31 from noon to 4 p.m.

Contact Nancy at or 415.750.3633.

Questions about your FAMSF Membership? Call 415.750.3636 or email Not a Member? Join today!

Haya people, Lidded basket (kaibo). Banana sheath fiber and grass
Tiny to Gigantic: Two New Acquisitions

In the Great Lakes Region of East Africa, women and girls from the aristocratic families of the Haya in northwest Tanzania and the related Tutsi of neighboring Rwanda and Burundi have passed down a way of making baskets that they have refined over countless generations.  The Department of Textile Arts has acquired a remarkable Haya presentation basket, barely two inches tall, that is a masterpiece of the tradition and a tour de force of the art of basket making.

Baskets play a major symbolic and ceremonial role in Haya society.  Because it was essential that the specific contents of a basket not be revealed until the recipient opened it, Haya presentation baskets are always lidded.  In this case, the basket may very well have contained the Haya’s most precious offering––coffee beans, which they presented only to those they held in the high esteem.

Gilbert & George (b. 1942 and 1943) Rest, 1984. Hand-colored photo collage
Rest, by the contemporary British duo Gilbert & George, has joined the growing collection of international contemporary art at FAMSF. Seen recently in the artists’ retrospective at the de Young, and now on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the work is a gift of Byron R. Meyer.

The phosphorescent orange, fuchsia, yellow, and red hair of the four teenage boys, combined with the eerie glow on their faces, is evocative of nocturnal lighting.  However, despite the title of the work, the two visible faces suggest that these subjects are wide-eyed and awake.  Striding atop one of the gigantic heads are Gilbert & George, who are symbolically supported by—and perhaps owe their reputation to—their subjects.

Dale Chihuly, Niijima Float Boat, 2008. Photo by Terry Rishel
Chihuly by the Numbers

Number of semi trucks used to bring the show from Seattle to San Francisco: 6
Number of boxes of glass pieces delivered: 1,000+
Percentage of breakage for any Chihuly installation: less than 1 percent

Number of pieces in the Persian Ceiling: 1,182
Number of days to install it: 4 people working 4 days
Number of Putti in the Persian Ceiling: 6—did you find them?

Number of blankets in Chihuly’s collection of vintage Indian trade blankets: approximately 800

Weight of the douglas fir table in the Tabac Baskets gallery: 750 pounds

Diameter of the Sun at the Legion of Honor: 14 feet
Height of the Saffron Tower at the de Young: 30 feet
Length of the Mille Fiori Garden at the de Young: 56 feet

Temperature of melted glass: 2,600–2,900ºF

Number of photos in the Chihuly at the de Young Flickr photo pool: 1,040 (click here to see them)

Number of visitors to Chihuly at the de Young as of 8/14/08: 216,671

Days left to see it: 40—the exhibition closes on September 28

Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957), Art Forms of the Pacific Area (1939). From a print made in 1940, courtesy U.S. Navy through the assistance of the Treasure Island Development Authority
The Case of the Missing Mural

Visitors to the de Young can see Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias’ large scale mural Flora and Fauna of the Pacific installed in the Art of the Americas gallery. The mural was one of a set of six created for the Pacific House at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition on Treasure Island. After the exhibition, the six immensely popular murals were put on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

By the time the murals returned to San Francisco, one was missing. Find out more about this missing mural on our blog.

Andrea della Robbia (1437-1525) Virgin and Child with Putti, ca. 1490-1495. Glazed terra cotta relief
Reinstallation of Legion of Honor Galleries 2–5

Occasionally, museum curators rearrange galleries just as you might rearrange the furniture in your living room. Lynn Orr, Curator in Charge of European Art, has done just that with Legion of Honor’s galleries 2 through 5.  The galleries have remained the same since their last re-installation in 1995 and Orr asserts that a reinterpretation will provide a new perspective on the museum’s collection of Renaissance and Mannerist art. The reinstallation will give a new emphasis on pieces already on view, such as Andrea della Robbia’s gorgeous glazed terracotta Virgin and Child with Putti and a very rare desco (a painted two-sided presentation tray).

Raffaellino del Garbo (1466-1524) Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels, 1502. Oil on poplar panel
Room will be made for pieces long in storage. Returning to the galleries after a lengthy restoration is a High Renaissance altarpiece by Cesare da Sesto (1477–1523) entitled Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint George.  This piece joins the Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels by Raffaellino del Garbo (1466–1524). Both monumental altarpieces feature a compositional type known as a “holy conversation.” The artists do not isolate the saints in subsidiary panels, but rather allow them to interact with the figures of Mary and the Christ child. Stylistically the paintings differ, as Raffaellino delights the eye with vibrant primary colors; Da Sesto, however, responds to the innovations of Leonardo da Vinci, employing here a technique called chiaroscuro—using more limited color with marked contrasts of light and dark to increase the sense of volume and atmosphere. The new gallery arrangements will be completed by October.