While most of the hype in the papers has been about the Tut exhibit, the De Young and the Legion have continued to add to their collections. Some of the items, like the Sèvres tea service, are not to my taste but are superb examples of the art. Other pieces - like the Rivers and Redon paintings- add much needed depth to the 19th and 20th century art collections. The upcoming show on Amish quilts will be an exciting look at an art form that only came into its own in the last decade.
The seventeen-piece Sèvres tea service, Déjeuner chinois reticule, was originally made on the orders of French King Louis-Philippe in 1842. Inspired by Chinese porcelain, enamels and lacquer, this sumptuous French work of art complements the fine collection of European 19th-century paintings, decorative arts and sculpture at the Legion.
Music plays a large role in Senufo ceremonial and secular performance, just as musical instruments are central to the story of African art. The acquisition of a West African harp (korikaariye) by FAMSF contributes to the illuminating breadth of work by the Senufo people on view at the de Young. The harp is also the first stringed instrument in the African collection.
The Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Major Accessions at FAMSF made possible the acquisition of The Last Civil War Veteran, 1961, by Larry Rivers (1923–2002). Rivers—artist, musician and filmmaker—is widely acknowledged as one of the earliest and most influential pioneers of Pop Art in the United States. His cycle of Civil War veteran paintings, including The Last Civil War Veteran, was the most ambitious extended series of his career,
FAMSF now owns a striking floral still life painting by French Symbolist master Odilon Redon (1840–1916). A Vase of Flowers, 1901, handsomely represents Redon’s belated interest in the brilliant colorism characteristic of flower painting.