FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums permanent collections. Today we commemorate the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire that ravaged the majority of San Francisco. Arnold Genthe’s Untitled (Portals of the Past), a jewel of the Museums’ photography collection, provides a look back at that dark day. This photograph is currently not on display, so please enjoy this exclusive virtual viewing.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is home to a unique collection of 167 film negatives taken by photographer Arnold Genthe chronicling the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and fires. The negatives were acquired by the Legion of Honor in 1943.

Many of the objects in our vast collections of works from Africa and the Americas are imbued with transformative properties. Representing rebirth and renewal, such objects were used during spring and summer to compel deities to bring about a fruitful harvest season. During this time of the year, we highlight some of the most significant of these works at the de Young.

"To me these industrial forms were all the more beautiful because they were never designed to be beautiful. They had a simplicity of line that came from their direct application to a purpose. Industry, I felt, had evolved an unconscious beauty—often a beauty that was waiting to be discovered. And recorded! That was where I came in."
—Margaret Bourke-White, 1963

It’s not unusual to see political messaging on clothing and accessories these days, from T-shirts promising hope to baseball caps vowing to make America great. But in the first half of the twentieth century, such messaging was rare in most places—except in Japan. From the turn of the twentieth century to the mid-1940s, it was common for Japanese men, women, and children to wear kimonos, obis (sashes), juban (under-kimono robes), and other traditional apparel dense with propagandist symbols and imagery.

We are excited to unveil the refresh of our brand, a project that includes updates to our logo and colors, and the way we communicate with you.