January 2011



The first thing one observes about the de Young Museum in San Francisco is how stunning the architecture is. Then one ventures inside and discovers the wonders of the museum's collection. The expansive collection focuses on such areas as American painting and decorative arts, African Art, Art of the Americas, and Oceanic Art. The de Young also houses one of the most important Textile Collections in the United States including a spectacular array of European tapestries.

The de Young prides itself on the first rate exhibitions they manage to attract that bring visitors from all over the country time and again. Currently on display is the second installment of Impressionist masterpieces from the famed Musée d'Orsay in Paris. This exhibition contains the works of such masters as Van Gogh, Renoir, and Cézanne.

In keeping with their commitment to textiles, the de Young has presented one-of-a-kind opportunities to view some of the fashion world's most inspiring offerings by Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent. These designers' most iconic creations were available up close and personal, a real treat for those who love fashion (especially from the runway). Recently Nan Kempner's extensive couture collection was also on display, including vintage, Dior, Chanel, and Saint Laurent. The de Young works in tandem with such famous museums as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York to secure these collections for those of us on the West Coast. The highly anticipated Balenciaga retrospective is coming to the de Young this spring for those who just can't get enough. The de Young is one of the premier museums in the country with a wide variety of exhibits.

Reviewer: Monika Earle, FIDM Library Staff Member