8 Aug 2012

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Looking up to the main stairway from the lobby of the Museum

The San Francisco Musuem of Moderen Art is a "must go" place if you are in this fine city. In fact it is one of the most impressive and easy to visit museums that I know. Partly because of the quality and diversity of its collection. Also partly because of the building being perfectly designed for its function, with the use of zenithal and other light sources making viewing conditions both exhilarating and easy on the eyes, and the floors dividing the considerable collection into layers that one takes from top to bottom (somewhat like the modern art museum in Prague that I spoke of about 18 months ago here), thus giving oneself natural breaks in between viewing sessions, taking time to go to the roof garden or to walk down some stairs and weave into another section.

One of the most impressive sets of images that I saw there today were those by the Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyana. But I cannot show you any right now as I find it impossible to photograph photographs. I will try and obtain some images another time and talk of his quite remarkable work on landscape and the spirit of places.

Here are a few images of paintings, slotted in scrapbook-like and more-or-less the order in which I saw them, that are some of those that I really enjoyed looking at today. It was a very enjoyable and even intense two and a half hours. Today, the first Tuesday of the month, the entrance is free to this Museum. And, to cap it all, this museum let's you take photos too (naturally without flash, but they remind you dently rather than bark at you) which most stupid French museums refuse for some strange reason.

Derain, 1890's (I think)

Matisse (around 1900)

Richard Diebenkorn (slightly cropped version as the full painting is vertical, early 1960's)

Another one by Diebenkorn. I like his work a lot. He lived around here and was part of something known as the Bay Area Group, who moved back to figuration from Abstract Expressionisism in the early 1960's, preceding, I think, similar moves on the part of de Kooning and others.

can't remember who this was by, but I rather liked it

 a bright one from de Kooning, early 1980's

by another of the Bay Area painters, called David Park

and the painter of this one (from the same group) is called Elmer Bisschoff

and there was a good "Pop-Art" collection, like this one by Jasper Johns, whose stuff I have always liked

And a great deal more, such as a series from Paul Klee and Joseph Albers of which this short text is a useful summary.


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