Collage of colors and shapes

Charles Carrick, Untitled (detail), page 116, from the book Flights of Fancy, or Imaginary Scraps, ca. 1842–1877. Print from leaves, transparent and opaque watercolor, metallic pigments, pen and ink, and pastel on paper. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts Endowment Fund and Dora D. Ide Fund, 1987.2.49.116

Curious + Wonderful: Selections from the Achenbach Vault

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Of the treasures in the Museums’ 115,000 works on paper, many have never been on exhibition. Drawn mainly from the collection of artist-illustrated books, this installation in the Logan Gallery is a sampling of intriguing objects chosen by Debra Evans, the Fine Arts Museums’ head of paper conservation, who has cared for these objects for nearly four decades.

“In my thirty-seven years as a paper conservator at the Fine Arts Museums, I have never had a boring day at work,” says Evans. “My position has given me unlimited access to examine, both as an experienced conservator and a delighted observer, an extraordinary collection of treasures, works on paper ranging in origin from the thirteenth-century to the present.”

Hands-on engagement with the works of art has afforded Evans a valuable perspective. “The variety of creative techniques used continually amazes, delights, and moves me. Unlike most paintings, many works on paper are light-sensitive, which precludes their long-term display. Nor is there enough gallery space for so many works. This small exhibition presents an opportunity to share with visitors a sampling my favorites, never or rarely shown, that I find especially curious and wonderful.”

Currently on view