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Joe Cunningham at Discarded to Divine 2011
quilt by Joe Cunningham

Visitors to the Artist Studio (Kimball Education Gallery) may remember the charming textiles artist Joe Cunningham and “Joe’s Quilt Shop.” Joe has long been a favorite of the Bay Area quilting world, and in March 2010, he took up residency in the Artist Studio, taught visitors how to quilt, regaled us with clever ballads, reversed the stereotype that men don’t quilt, and impressed us with his works, including Bend in the River, which was acquired by the de Young.  Now, he returns to the Museum as part of the ann

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Our Banner in the Sky
Our Banner in the Sky

Attributed to Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826-1900)
Our Banner in the Sky, ca. 1861
Oil on paper mounted on paper board
7 13/16 x 11 13/16 inches
1994.71

Exactly 150 years ago today on April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began in earnest. At 4:30 a.m., Confederate batteries on the shores of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina opened fire on Fort Sumter, the Federal-held fortification that dominated the harbor after commander Major Robert Anderson refused its surrender. The resulting bombardment went on for 34 hours, with Confederate artillerists lobbing over 3,000 rounds of shot and shell in the fort's direction. While the fort's masonry walls were battered and many of its wooden buildings were set alight, there were no fatal casualties on either side during the engagement. Ironically, two Union soldiers were killed when ammunition was accidentally ignited during the 100-gun salute to Fort Sumter's tattered but intact American flag.

It is this flag that is thought to be depicted in the de Young's Our Banner in the Sky, believed to have been created in 1861 by American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church. Major Anderson took Fort Sumter's flag with him back to the North, where it became the focal point of numerous patriotic rallies, the first of which took place in New York City's Union Square. With over 100,000 attendees, it was the largest public gathering in the United States to date. The celebrity flag toured countless cities throughout the North, where it raised funds for the war effort by being auctioned off. The winner naturally donated the flag back to the nation to be auctioned off again at the next rally. In April of 1865, Anderson, now a major general, returned to Fort Sumter and raised the flag over its ruins as part of the celebration of the Union's victory.

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Julian Cox in conversation with Collection Connections artist Marco Breuer
Child's chair, ca. 1780, France, Painted walnut, cane, and silk satin damask, Gi

In the midst of the 48-hour installation of Line of Sight, Founding Curator of Photography and Chief Curator at the de Young Julian Cox sat down with Marco Breuer to discuss his artistic practice.

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Portraits of George Washington for Presidents’ Day
George Washington

Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778–1860), George Washington, ca. 1850.
Oil on canvas. 53.15.1

Presenting the first blog post by communications intern Gauthier Melin.

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dYinterpretations: A Journey through the de Young with Filmmaker-in-Residence Lise Swenson

The de Young Museum previews its new iPhone application dYinterpretations: A Journey through the de Young with Filmmaker-in-Residence Lise Swenson on Friday, February 11, during the museum’s weekly event Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young. Museum lovers will be given the opportunity to download the new app for free in the iTunes App Store between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm prior to its official release on March 1 for $2.99.

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Are you dusting the art? Common questions about our dusting routine
Dusting the suspended Ruth Asawa sculptures.

Even in a museum environment, objects can become dusty and it is the responsibility of the objects conservation department to dust each artwork. We sometimes dust artworks when visitors are in the galleries and we have noticed that many people are curious about what we are doing.  Here is a brief selection of the most common questions about dusting artworks and our responses:

Assistant Conservator Alisa Eagleston dusting the suspended Ruth Asawa sculptures.

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