San Francisco is… the stunning views from Lands End

As if 4000 years worth of art, a spectacular French-inspired building that resembles the Parisian Palais de la Légion d’Honneur (here’s that ”European” feel again), and interesting exhibitions like the Degas and Paris Millinery Trade we’d just seen were not enough, Legion of Honor sits high on the grounds of Lincoln Park, in a unique setting. To reach it, you have to walk (or drive) through a glossy, perfectly manicured golf course. And on your return, you can – no, you must, take one of the Lands End trails, walk past rocky cliffs, shady cypress and eucalyptus trees, cross paths with local runners, find your way around a stone labyrinth, descent to Mile Rock Beach or just let your eyes rest on some of the most stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean you could have wished for.

Lands End

July 7th, 2017

Don’t try this at home

Under any circumstances. Lucretia, this is not your fault. Never ever.Joos van Cleve, Flemish, ca. 1485-1540
Lucretia, ca. 1525
Oil on panel


[…”Several days passed. Sextus Tarquinius returned to the house of Conlatinus, with one of his companions. He was well received and given the hospitality of the house, and maddened with love, he waited until he was sure everyone else was asleep. Then he took up his sword and went to Lucretia’s bedroom, and placing his sword against her left breast, he said, “Quiet, Lucretia; I am Sextus Tarquinius, and I have a sword in my hand. If you speak, you will die.” Awakening from sleep, the poor woman realized that she was without help and very close to death. Sextus Tarquinius declared his love for her, begging and threatening her alternately, and attacked her soul in every way. Finally, before her steadfastness, which was not affected by the fear of death even after his intimidation, he added another menace. “When I have killed you, I will put next to you the body of a nude servant, and everyone will say that you were killed during a dishonorable act of adultery.” With this menace, Sextus Tarquinius triumphed over her virtue, and when he had raped her he left, having taken away her honor.

Lucretia, overcome with sorrow and shame, sent messengers both to her husband at Ardea and her father at Rome, asking them each to come “at once, with a good friend, because a very terrible thing had happened.” Spurius Lucretius, her father, came with Publius Valerius, the son of Volesus, and Conlatinus came with Lucius Junius Brutus; they had just returned to Rome when they met Lucretia’s messenger. They found Lucretia in her chamber, overpowered by grief. When she saw them she began to cry. “How are you?” her husband asked. “Very bad,” she replied, “how can anothing go well for a woman who has lost her honor? There are the marks of another man in your bed, Conlatinus. My body is greatly soiled, though my heart is still pure, as my death will prove. But give me your right hand in faith that you will not allow the guilty to escape. It was Sextus Tarquinius who returned our hospitality with enmity last night. With his sword in his hand, he came to take his pleasure for my unhappiness, but it will also be his sorrow if you are real men.”

They promised her that they would pursue him, and they tried to appease her sorrow, saying that it was the soul that did wrong, and not the body, and because she had had no bad intention, she did no wrong. “It is your responsibility to see that he gets what he deserves,” she said, “I will absolve myself of blame, and I will not free myself from punishment. No woman shall use Lucretia as her example in dishonor.” Then she took up a knife which she had hidden beneath her robe, and plunged it into her heart, collapsing from her wound; she died there amid the cries of her husband and father…”] – source

Legion of Honor, San Francisco

July 7th, 2017

San Francisco is… the eclectic Legion of Honor

A haven for European Art spanning 4000 years; paintings, sculptures, decorative objects, frames as precious as the works they adorn, ancient art from the Mediterranean basin and  mummies from Egypt, all under this beautiful French neoclassical structure, a replica of the French Pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915, itself a replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, an 18th-century landmark on the left bank of the Seine. Michael Sweerts (Flemish, Brussels 1618-1664 Goa)
Portrait of a Youth, ca. 1655-1661
Oil on canvas


Louis Léopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845)
After Clodion (Claude Michel)
Triumph of Amphitrite, ca. 1785-1799 (details)
Oil on paper mounted on canvas


Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879)
Third-Class Carriage, 1856-1858
Oil on panel


Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904)
The Bath, ca. 1880-1885 (detail)
Oil on canvas


Konstantin Makovsky (Russia, 1839-1915)
The Russian Bride’s Attire, 1889
Oil on canvas


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
The Broken Pitcher, 1891
Oil on canvas


Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848-1884)
Sarah Bernhardt, 1879
Oil on canvas


John Anster Fitzgerald (British, 1823-1906)
Fairies in a Bird’s Nest, ca. 1860
Oil on canvas


Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887)
Mary Queen of Scots, ca. 1860-1869
Terracota


Celestial and terrestrial globes, Dutch, ca. 1600
Jodocus Hondius, the elder (Joos de Hondt, 1563-1612), cartographer
Metal, walnut and paper

Table from Italy, Bologna, 17th century
Walnut


Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
The Three Shades, 1898
Bronze


Paneled room
France, ca. 1680 and later
Painted and gilt wood and mirror


William Blake
”Time in advance… ”and ”Time, having passed on…,” from The Complaint, and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts, by Edward Young

[Night Thoughts was first published in 1742 and its continuing popularity more than fifty years later inspired publisher Richard Edwards to bring out a new, deluxe edition, for which he commissioned William Blake to provide illustrations.]

Legion of Honor

July 7th, 2017

San Francisco is… keeping its hats on

[In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hats were a social obsession, subjects of acclaim and critique. The Paris millinery industry was at its financial and creative peak between the mid-1870s and 1914, the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the outbreak of the World War I, decades that coincided with the ear of French Impressionism. The women who made and sold hats – milliners, or modistes in French – as well as those who purchased them, fascinated Edgar Degas and other artists in his circle.] Bonnets of the 1880s by Mangin Maurice (left) & Cordeau et Laugaudin (right)


Bonnet, ca. 1894 by an unknown designer, France


Jean Béraud, 1849-1935
Fashionable Woman on the Champs-Élysées, n.d.
Oil on canvas


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair, ca. 1884
Oil on canvas


Hat by Maison Virot, ca. 1900 (with alterations)


Hat by Camille Marchais, ca. 1895


Bonnet by Mesdemoiselles Cotel, ca. 1885 (left) & Capote by E. Gauthier, ca. 1890


Hat by Caroline Reboux, ca. 1904-1905 (left) & by Au Bon Marché, retailer, ca. 1884


Capote by Auguste Poussineau, known as A. Félix, ca. 1880-1885 (front) & Hat by Monsieur Heitz-Boyer, 1898 (back)


Hat by an unknown designer, ca. 1890


Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Berthe Morisot, ca. 1869-1873
Oil on canvas


Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927)
The Milliners, 1899
Pastel on paper mounted on board


Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927)
The Final Touch, ca 1885
Pastel on paper


Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade exhibition ran until September 2017 @ the Legion of Honor*

July 07th, 2017

*If, by any chance, September 2018 finds you in San Francisco, please do make me jealous and go see the current exhibition, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters!

San Francisco is… a little crooked

Not only it is host to some of the steepest streets on this side of the Atlantic, but also to some of the crookedest. Lombard Street on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, is so steep that it was deemed too dangerous for vehicles to just drive through. Thus its transformation into a switchback with eight sharp turns – so sharp and steep, I thought every household in San Francisco should, by default, include a shrine devoted to the genius who invented automatic transmission.

Lombard Street

July 6th, 2017

San Francisco is… going boating

Around Alcatraz…, where else?

One is spoiled for choice as far as cruises are concerned: Alcatraz tours by day or night, bridge-to-bridge ones, cruises for watching the sunset or whale-watching ones, you name it, chances are you can have it. We took the lazy one, that circles around Alcatraz and under the Golden Bridge. It was windy and brisk and the views were amazing.

San Francisco Bay Cruises

July 6th, 2017

San Francisco is… on a Mission

The Dolores Mission, to be precise.

[The Misión San Francisco de Asís was founded October 9, 1776. The settlement was named for St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, but was also commonly known as “Mission Dolores” owing to the presence of a nearby creek named Arroyo de los Dolores, or “Creek of Sorrows.”

Mission Dolores is the oldest intact building in the City of San Francisco and the only intact Mission Chapel in the chain of 21 established under the direction of Father Serra. The Mission has been a steadfast witness to the span of San Francisco’s history including the California Gold Rush and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The Mission Cemetery is the only cemetery that remains within the City limits. The Cemetery is the final resting place for numerous Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians as well as notable California pioneers.]

Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., Founder and First President of the California Missions
Born Nov. 24, 1713 – Died Aug. 28, 1784


Mission Dolores

July 6th, 2017