The de Young, a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, is one of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco along with the Legion of Honor.
The de Young showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa.
The American art collection consists of over 1,000 paintings, 800 sculptures, and 3,000 decorative arts objects, with works ranging from 1670 to the present day, this collection represents the most comprehensive museum survey of American art in the American West and is among the top ten collections nationally that encompass the entire history of non-indigenous American art. Since its inception in the Fine Arts Building at the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 in Golden Gate Park, its subsequent institutionalization in the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1924, and its reinstallation in the new de Young in 2005, the permanent collection has evolved exponentially.
Adore its striking copper facade, while others just hope that the green patina of age will mellow the effect. Most maligned is the 144-foot tower, but the view from its ninth-story observation room, ringed by floor-to-ceiling windows and free to the public, is worth a trip here by itself. The building almost overshadows the de Young's respected collection of American, African, and Oceanic art. The museum also plays host to major international exhibits, such as 100 works from Paris's Musée National Picasso and a collection of the work of Jean Paul Gaultier from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; there's often an extra admission charge for these. The annual Bouquet des Art is a fanciful tribute to the museum's collection by notable Bay Area floral designers. On many Friday evenings, the museum hosts fun, free, family-centered events, with live music, art projects for children, and a wine and beer bar (the café stays open late, too).
Bring your kids to the museum. We suggest approaching your visit as an expedition and letting your child or children take the lead. Children often have the ability to see things in artworks that adults may miss. When your children express wonder about a particular object, ask them to take a moment and look carefully at the work. Ask what they think is happening in the work of art and have them identify details that support their ideas. Any answer they provide is correct, as long as they can provide visual evidence!
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