Julie's Journeys: San Francisco

I have stated here before that the Dixon has taken me to some truly wonderful locations around the world, and last month was no different.  I had the chance to travel to one of my favorite U. S. cities, San Francisco, in the name of research and development for future Dixon exhibitions.   

Let me start by saying that I had some anxiety leading up to this trip.  I am in my seventh month of pregnancy, and it’s probably my last jaunt for the Dixon for a while.  Fortunately, the weather in San Francisco was absolutely glorious the whole time I was there.  And as I anticipated, I was greeted warmly and graciously by everyone I encountered.

While in town, I was able to see two museum exhibitions at San Francisco’s two major museums.  The first exhibition, Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, on view at the deYoung Museum, was full of works of art I have wanted to see my whole life.  Chief among these were Diego Velázquez’s An Old Woman Cooking Eggs (1618), Antoine Watteau’s Fêtes Vénitiennes (1718-19), Edgar Degas’ Diego Martelli (1879), and John Singer Sargent’s Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892).  Also of note were the truly great Scottish paintings in the show, including Sir Henry Raeburn’s Reverend Robert Walker, Skating on Duddingston Loch (ca. 1795, a.k.a. “The Skating Minister”) and Colonel Alastair Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry (1812).   For more information, you can visit the deYoung’s website here or read a recent review of the exhibition from the Wall Street Journal here.   

From the deYoung, I ventured next to the Legion of Honor, famously the setting for a pivotal scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic film, Vertigo.  The Legion is a bit quieter than the deYoung, and I enjoyed the chance to refresh my memory on their truly great collection of European paintings.  I also relished at the chance to view their recently-opened exhibition High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.  This show, which mainly featured European and American couture from the early 1900s through the 1980s, was beautifully-installed, a real visual treat.  I especially enjoyed viewing a trunk full of shoes from the 1910s that could have easily been owned by the Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.  The selection of works of art in clothing by Italian-born surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli were choice and representative.  And in the final section of show, which focused on British-born American couturier Charles James was a true delight, especially since I wasn’t able to see the show dedicated to him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute last year.    

All in all, it was a great trip filled with great opportunities to view incredible works of art.  And true to San Francisco’s reputation, all of the food I ate was absolutely delicious!  Outerlands was a highlight.  I feel like I did as much as I could at seven months pregnant.  So this will probably be my last installment of Julie’s Journeys before I head out on maternity leave—what a great final trip!  

Posted by Chantal Drake at 4:39 PM
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