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Jewel City: Art from San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition
One hundred years ago, San Francisco hosted a spectacular world’s fair. The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) drew millions of visitors, and its attractions included the most comprehensive art exhibition ever mounted on the West Coast. A century later, masterpieces representing a significant array of art shown at the PPIE, from Impressionism to Futurism, are reunited in this gorgeous and definitive catalogue.
More than eleven thousand works of art were exhibited in the PPIE’s main art venues, while thousands more could be seen in national pavilions and throughout the exhibition grounds. Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition is the first publication to examine the art program of the fair, and it features the diverse paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints that greeted an enthusiastic public in 1915.
The volume’s thirteen authors explore the prevailing themes of the PPIE’s art program, which reflected aesthetic sensibilities ranging from the classically beautiful to the shockingly modern. In addition to major displays of paintings by prominent Americans, especially those working in the Impressionist style, the Exposition included the first presentations in the United States of Italian Futurism, Austrian Expressionism, and Hungarian avant-garde painting. Jewel City further surveys the sculpture, murals, and architecture of the fairgrounds and the complications of mounting an exhibition of international art amid the confusion of World War I.
The PPIE promoted many of the period’s contemporary artistic trends to a mass American audience and helped to establish San Francisco as the center of artistic vitality on the West Coast. Filled with lavish reproductions and historical photographs—some being published for the first time—Jewel City is indispensable for understanding the role played by the United States and California in the reception of modernism, as well as the Bay Area’s significant place on the international art stage.