Extravagance and Luxury: Victorian San Francisco

This is the last week to see The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860–1900which closes on Sunday, June 17, at the Legion of Honor. San Francisco has been the perfect host city in which to display this groundbreaking exhibition due in no small part to the city’s rich Victorian past. At a recent panel discussion,  "Extravagance and Industry,"  hosted by ArtPoint, participants revealed the many architectural remains of the Aesthetic Movement that remain visible throughout San Francisco today.


An expert panel comprising Fine Arts Museums curator in charge of European art Dr. Lynn Federle Orr, San Francisco preservation planner N. Moses Corrette, and historic preservation consultant Christopher VerPlanck gathered at the historic Haas-Lilienthal House to discuss the impact of Victorian-era ideals on the architecture and interior design of San Francisco, and the challenges of preserving the past while looking into the future. A landmark in San Francisco, the Haas-Lilienthal House provided the perfect backdrop for the panel discussion. The Queen Anne–style Victorian, completed in 1886, provided context for the dialogue, its authentic interior design, furniture, and artifacts transporting patrons to the 19th century.

You can listen to the presentation in its entirety here: [swf file="files/audio/artpointsymposium.mp3"]

If your curiosity about the city's extravagant Victorian past hasn’t been sated by that lively discussion, we’ve put together the following reading list as suggested by the panelists:

Reading list

  • Here Today: San Francisco's Architectural Heritage, by Roger R. Olmsted
  • On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century, by Richard Longstreth
  • Great Houses of San Francisco, by Erin Feher
  • Champagne Days of San Francisco, by Evelyn Wells
  • A Gift to the Street, by Carol Olwell and Judith Lynch Waldhorn
  • In the Victorian Style, by Randolph Delehanty
  • Port City: The History and Transformation of the Port of San Francisco, 1848–2012, by Michael Corbett

To get your fill of Victorian-era art, head out to the Legion of Honor to see The Cult of Beauty during this final week of the exhibition. Avoid the weekend crowds with a weekday discount of $4 off adult admission with the code LegionSave4. This offer is good online, at the Legion admission desk, or by phone and cannot be combined with any other offers.

The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860–1900 at the Legion of Honor closes this Sunday, June 17.