Monday, March 30, 2015

In the Air: The Uplift of Art and Beauty

Two dazzling new world-class exhibits are lighting up museums in San Francisco this spring. These presentations are essential eye delight and brain stimulations for everyone who loves painting, fashion, style, creativity and beauty.

For my friends who are thinking of planning an escape to San Francisco—or who may be coming here soon on a business trip—please book in advance online. The shows have just opened and they’re very popular.

I know you’ll love to explore the very special ‘Botticelli to Braque’ at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. This blockbuster presents paintings from the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland. 


John Singer Sargent, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, 1892. Oil on canvas. Scottish National Gallery

Among the highlights of this show are one of my favorite portraits, the John Singer Sargent painting of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892), one of Sargent’s finest depictions, with a fine sense of style and harmonious color tonality.

But the painting I am extremely thrilled to see is the beguiling Sir Henry Raeburn painting of Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddington Loch (1795). I discovered it some years ago at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. It is full of charm and humor, and it seems that this is the first time it has traveled to America.

This Raeburn is a Scottish national treasure and I assumed the Scots would simply and clearly not let it travel. But the great Colin B. Bailey, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, insisted that this painting was essential to the exhibit. Come and enjoy it, thanks to Colin.

And over at the Legion of Honor is a small but compelling collection of fashion from the Brooklyn Museum. I know you’ve love the Schiaparelli jacket and a series of gowns by French designers. Delicious.

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978)
"Tree" ball gown, 1955
Silk taffeta and tulle
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr., 1981


Botticelli to Braque

Through May 31, 2015
de Young Museum



Fifty-five paintings in the exhibition span a period of more than 400 years (1490–1932) and include some of the greatest holdings of the Scottish National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art—the three institutions that comprise the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Sandro Botticelli, The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child, ca.1490. Tempera and gold on canvas, 48 x 31.5 in. (74 x 42 framed). Scottish National Gallery

Frederic Edwin Church, Niagara Falls, from the American Side, 1867. Oil on canvas, 257 x 227cm (285 x 256cm framed). Scottish National Gallery

Claude Monet, Poplars on the Epte, 1891. Oil on canvas, 81 x 81cm. Scottish National Gallery


Colin B. Bailey, the director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco commented:

“The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have a long tradition of presenting works from acclaimed museums not readily accessible to our art lovers, “Botticelli to Braque is a remarkable opportunity to view a group of masterpieces from three venerable institutions that together include outstanding examples by some of the greatest painters from the Renaissance to the early modern period.”

Paul Cézanne, The Big Trees, ca. 1904. Oil on canvas. Scottish National Gallery

Paul Gauguin, Three Tahitians, 1899. Oil on canvas. Scottish National Gallery

Camille Pissarro, The Marne at Chennevières, ca.1864–65. Oil on canvas, 91 x 145 cm. Scottish National Gallery

“The National Galleries of Scotland are delighted to showcase key works from the Scottish national collection at a pre-eminent art museum in the USA,” said Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland. “We hope that visitors to the exhibitions will be enchanted by the range of superb works on show, and we encourage them to visit Scotland and see the rest of the collection at the three sites in Edinburgh.”

William Dobson, Charles II, ca. 1642. Oil on canvas. Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Henry Raeburn, Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry (1771–1828), 1812. Oil on canvas, 242 x 151 cm (272 x 183cm framed). Scottish National Gallery

Diego Velázquez, An Old Woman Cooking Eggs, 1618. Oil on canvas, 100 x 119cm (148 x 128cm framed). Scottish National Gallery

The paintings from the Scottish National Gallery include the major schools of art including—Italian, French and Dutch, in addition to Scottish. Many of these works have never been seen in the United States, including Sandro Botticelli’s Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child (ca. 1490), which has not been exhibited outside of Scotland for more than 150 years. Other artists include the Renaissance masters Titian and Paolo Veronese; the 17th century painters El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, Jan Lievens, Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer; and such 19th century figures as Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne. The exhibition will also feature celebrated Scottish painters Allan Ramsay and Sir Henry Raeburn.

Edgar Degas, Diego Martelli, 1879. Oil on canvas, 110 x 99cm 134 x 124cm framed. Scottish National Gallery

Henry Raeburn, Revd. Robert Walker, Skating on Duddingston Loch, ca.1795. Oil on canvas, 76 x 63cm. Scottish National Gallery

Rembrandt van Rijn, A Woman in Bed ca. 1645–1646. Oil on canvas, 81 x 67cm. Scottish National Gallery

Additional pieces from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery include canvases by Van Dyck, William Dobson, Sir David Wilkie and Richard Dadd.

From the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art are key paintings by Édouard Vuillard, Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Max Ernst. A particular highlight of the exhibition is Georges Braque’s Candlestick (1911), among the first Cubist paintings to incorporate the written word.




Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978)
"Clover Leaf" ball gown, 1953
Silk satin, faille, and shantung with lace
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Josephine Abercrombie, 1953

High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection

Through July 19, 2015
Legion of Honor



High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, a landmark exhibition of 20th century masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection traces the evolution of fashion from 1910 to 1980.

High Style reveals the breadth of the Brooklyn collection, with seminal pieces by some of the most important American and European fashion designers from the period, including the influential British-born designer Charles James. 







The Brooklyn Collection, now a part of the Met’s Costume Institute, includes the most comprehensive assemblage of pieces by American fashion designers, and the definitive holdings of Charles James designs and archival materials.

This exhibition, originally on view at the Brooklyn Museum was curated by Jan Glier Reeder, now consulting curator at The Costume Institute. 

Norman Norell (American, 1900-1972)
Evening ensemble, 1970-71
Organdy and beaded silk jersey
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Toni Tavan Ausnit, 1990

Elsa Schiaparelli (French, born Italy, 1890-1973)
André Perugia (French, 1893-1977)
Ensemble, winter 1937-38
 Printed silk faille woven with metallics
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Isabel Shults Fund, 2007 and Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn


Elsa Schiaparelli (French, born Italy, 1890-1973)
Dinner ensemble, summer 1940
Silk crepe and wool embroidered with beads
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn
Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1951

Elsa Schiaparelli (French, born Italy, 1890-1973)
Evening jacket, summer, 1937
Silk velvet embroidered with rhinestones and paillettes
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Anthony V. Lynch, 1971


The exhibition displays 65 mannequins dressed in a wide range of pieces, alongside 35 accessories, including hats and shoes, and related fashion sketches.

Significant looks from French couture houses include designs by Christian Dior, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, and the iconoclastic surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

Additional attention is given to the pioneering generation of American women designers working in the 1930s through the 1950s, such as Bonnie Cashin, Elizabeth Hawes, and Claire McCardell, and their male counterparts, including Norman Norell, Mainbocher, and Gilbert Adrian.

Yves Saint Laurent (French, born Algeria, 1936-2008) for the House of Dior (French, founded 1946)
“Refrain” Cocktail Dress, Spring/Summer 1958.
Printed silk and organza;
Collection: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Bonnie Cashin (American, 1908-2000)
“The Tweed Toga” ensemble, 1943
Wool plaid
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Bonnie Cashin, 1963

Callot Soeurs (French, 1895 – 1937)
Evening ensemble, ca. 1910
Silk charmeuse and filet lace
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mercedes de Acosta, 1954

Mainbocher (American, 1890-1976)
Evening dress, 1950
Silk sari fabric with gold brocade
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta‑Ramos, 1954


Colin B. Bailey said, “These works from the Brooklyn Museum’s costume collection, arguably the greatest repository of American fashion design, present a wonderful counterbalance to our own costume collection and its emphasis on mid-century French couture.”

“This is a unique opportunity to celebrate masterworks of both American designers and early 20th century French couturiers,” added Jill D’Alessandro, curator of costumes and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978)
Muslin, 1953
White and black cotton muslin
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Cornelius V. Whitney, 1953

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978)
Sketch, 1952-23
Graphite, ink, and watercolor on paper
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Clive Runnels and Mrs. Edward L. Ryerson, 1957

A section of the exhibition devoted to Charles James includes 25 objects—nine ensembles, 12 sketches, and five prototype muslins that illuminate the technical mastery behind James’s highly constructed gowns.

Other highlights include Schiaparelli’s 1938 surrealist necklace of brightly colored tin insects, and a 1949 tiger-striped silk ball gown by Adrian.

Elsa Schiaparelli (French, born Italy, 1890-1973)
Necklace, autumn 1938
 Rhodoid and metal
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta Ramos, 1955

Gilbert Adrian (American, 1903-1959)
“The Tigress” evening ensemble, 1949
Silk taffeta chiné and lamé
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Janet Gaynor Adrian, 1963

Claire McCardell (American, 1905-1958)
Ensemble, 1946
Wool jersey and cotton poplin
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Claire McCardell, 1956

Elizabeth Hawes (American, 1903-1971)
“The Tarts” dress, 1937
Silk crepe and satin
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Diana S. Field, 1964

House of Drecoll (Austrian, active 1894–1922; French, active 1902–1929)
Evening dress, 1912-13
Silk charmeuse with net lace, chiffon, and fur
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Francis Lenygon, 1975

Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867-1946)
Evening dress, summer 1923
Lamé with silk ribbonwork embroidery
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Designated Purchase Fund, 1988

The exhibition includes digital design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York-based interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. The digital animations, originally created for Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, analyze the form and structure of the gowns using 3D scans, 360 photography, x-rays, and microscopy. Four of these animations supplement the presentation of Charles James gowns that appear in High Style.

Pietro Yantorny (French, born Italy, 1874–1936)
Evening shoes, 1914–19
Silk satin and point de Venise lace
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mercedes de Acosta, 1953

Sally Victor (American, 1905-1977)
“Matisse” hat, ca. 1962
Straw and wool felt
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the artist, 1964

Steven Arpad (French, born Hungary, 1904-1999)
Shoe prototype (evening pump), 1939
Silk satin, gold kidskin, and wood
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn
Museum, 2009; Gift of Arpad, 1947

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.



The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition and became the Memorial Museum. Thirty years later, it was renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, a longtime champion of the museum. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, opened in October 2005. It showcases the institution’s significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries; art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international contemporary art.



The California Palace of the Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915, which was a replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. The museum opened in 1924 in the Beaux Arts–style building designed by George Applegarth on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Its holdings span four thousand years and include European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.


CREDITS:
Images are courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and used here with express permission. All images are copyright.

For more information:
www.legionofhonor.famsf.org
www.deyoung.famsf.org

5 comments:

StuckInABook said...

What a feast for the eyes this post was! Starting with that beautiful John Singer Sargent, which I saw in Edinburgh a few years ago.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

As if one needed an excuse to visit beautiful San Francisco! These are great additional reasons though :-)

peggybraswell said...

what beautiful dresses + paintings + this is glorious.xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Karena Albert said...

Diane, I must say these are some of the finest exhibits I have seen ( glimpses of) in some time. Including so many of my favorites. Yes, a trip to San Francisco is in order!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena
Ellipsis: Dual Vision

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

DEAR FRIENDS-

You must come and visit us in San Francisco--and see these two shows. They are very rare and special. I am especially pleased with the SCOTTISH collections--as these pieces are not often seen on the circuit. They are so rare…you can see them with fresh eyes. This is a wonderful aspect of art…to see a new piece, an unknown painting, a less exposed oil…so that you experience it with BUDDHA EYES…meaning in the moment and very much with beginner's eyes, with no pre-conceptions. I wish you happy art hunting and happy travels..DIANE