Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announce Summer and Fall 2024 Exhibitions; Highlights Include Solo Exhibitions of Women Artists

Jan 31, 2024

Famsf Tamara De Lempicka Jeune Fille Aux Gants

Tamara de Lempicka, Jeune fille aux gants (detail), 1930–1931. Oil on board, 24 ¼ x 17 7/8 in. (61.5 x 45.5 cm). Centre Pompidou, Paris, purchase, 1932, inv. JP557P. 2023 Tamara de Lempicka Estate, LLC / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, NY

Ugandan Artist Leilah Babirye’s First Solo Museum Exhibition in the US

Art Deco Painter Tamara de Lempicka Receives First Major US Retrospective

SAN FRANCISCO — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco today announced its exciting lineup of summer and fall 2024 special exhibitions, which emphasize the groundbreaking works of historic and contemporary women artists.

Presented at the de Young and Legion of Honor museums, the season will feature new insights into the practices of Mary Cassatt and Tamara de Lempicka; and the first solo museum exhibition in the US for multidisciplinary artist Leilah Babirye.

“Our summer and fall 2024 season promises to be a breathtaking celebration of female artistic achievement,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “We are honored to bring to our audiences the work of Leilah Babirye, Mary Cassatt, and Tamara de Lempicka, each groundbreaking in their own right.”

The summer and fall seasons follow a strong winter-spring season, which will see several major presentations. These include the first major US museum survey devoted to the artistic practice of Lee Mingwei, immersing audiences in radical acts of generosity and care; the first US exhibition to trace the development of Japanese prints from 18th-century ukiyo-e (or “floating world pictures”) to the late 19th-century prints of the imperial Meiji era; a major retrospective devoted to Irving Penn—one of the 20th century’s leading photographers—with a special section on San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love; and a dazzling loan exhibition of the complete Battle of Pavia tapestries cycle, a landmark of Renaissance artistic production. Two additional exhibitions will spotlight two major gifts to the permanent collection: a presentation of the transformative gift of 19th- and 20th-century American art from Bernard and Barbro Osher; and the second in a series of exhibitions drawn from the uplifting 2022 gift by the Svane Family Foundation.


Leilah Babirye: We Have a History

de Young
June 22, 2024–June 22, 2025

We Have a History—the artist's first solo exhibition in the US—speaks to the power of reclaiming identity and creating community through artistic practices, historical narratives, and cultural traditions rooted in Africa. Born in Kampala, Uganda, and based in New York, Babirye is known for her highly expressive, ambiguously gendered sculptures in ceramic, wood, and discarded objects. Recuperating ceramic and wood-carving traditions from west and central Africa, she hand builds her ceramics, firing them with expressive glazes, while she whittles, scorches, and burnishes her wood sculptures. As a final touch, the artist adorns them with wire, bicycle chains, inner tubes, and other found metals and materials. The sculptures, which range in scale from towering totemic forms to busts, talismans, and masks, are portraits of her LGBTQ+ community. Exhibited alongside sculptural masterpieces from the Museum's historical collection, Babirye illuminates the connections between past and present that is at the heart of our Contemporary African Art program. As one of the leading voices in contemporary sculpture and queer activism, Babirye has been selected for the 60th International Art Exhibition at the 2024 Venice Biennale organized by Brazilian curator Adriano Pedrosa.

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Mary Cassatt
at Work
Legion of Honor
October 5, 2024–January 26, 2025

Too often dismissed as a sentimental painter of mothers and children, Cassatt was in fact a modernist pioneer. Her paintings, pastels, and prints boldly call attention to the processes of their own making: the marks of Cassatt’s brush, etching needle, pastel stick, and even fingertips. Along with scenes of women at the opera, visiting friends, or taking tea, Cassatt often depicted so-called “women’s work”—knitting and needlepoint, bathing children, and nursing infants. These images invite comparisons between the work of art making and the work of caregiving, smuggling in experimentation under the cover of acceptably “feminine” subject matter. The exhibition is the first major US presentation of Cassatt’s work in over 25 years and is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Legion of Honor is the sole West Coast venue.

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Tamara de Lempicka

de Young
October 12, 2024–February 9, 2025

A major figure of the Art Deco movement, Lempicka is today recognized as one of the preeminent portrait painters of her time, combining the classical figural style of the European pictorial tradition with the modern energy of the international avant-gardes. Through her own liberal lifestyle and bold pictorial technique, Lempicka captured the confidence, glamor, and effervescence of interwar Paris as well as the cool cosmopolitan sheen of Hollywood celebrity. The first major museum retrospective of Lempicka in the US, Tamara de Lempicka explores the artist’s seductive style and fearless way of life with approximately 100 works, including the paintings that first brought Lempicka fame, and the drawings revealing a deliberate design process.

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Lee Mingwei: Rituals of Care 

de Young 
February 17–July 7, 2024

The first major US museum survey of works by one of the most prominent Taiwanese American artists today, Rituals of Care features seven projects by Bay Area–raised and educated Lee, that place the visitor at the center of radical acts of generosity. Inspired by the artist’s personal experiences and recent world events that continue to resonate—Lee’s work asks how art can serve as a conduit for human connection and emotional healing in a social environment defined by trauma and loss. The exhibition invites visitors to engage with installations in the de Young’s free public spaces as well as galleries dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century art.

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Irving Penn

de Young
March 16–July 21, 2024

Irving Penn is widely recognized as one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers, renowned for his pared-down aesthetic and exemplary printmaking. Vogue’s longest-standing contributor, Penn revolutionized fashion photography in the postwar period, using neutral backgrounds to emphasize models’ characters through their gestures and expressions. Although best known as a fashion and portrait photographer, Penn created a diverse body of work across a nearly 70-year career. Featuring approximately 175 photographs, the exhibition spans his early still lifes and portraits of cultural luminaries, celebrities, and workers with the tools of their trades to abstract nudes and fashion studies. A special section is devoted to portraits of hippies, Hells Angels, and local rock bands that Penn made in San Francisco during the Summer of Love.

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Contemporary Painting in Papua New Guinea: Mathias Kauage and His Family

de Young
March 30, 2024–March 15, 2026

Mathias Kauage is acclaimed for his boldly colorful paintings of a world radically changing around him in the late 20th century. This exhibition features four paintings from our collection by Mathias and his family, on view for the first time. During his lifetime, Mathias experienced dramatic societal shifts—not only during the decades under colonial Australian administration, but also after Papua New Guinea achieved independence in 1975. In the late 1970s, Mathias and his wife, Elizabeth (Elisabet), led the contemporary arts movement in the newly independent country, which explored nationhood and technological advancement.

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Zuan-cho: Kimono Design in Modern Japan (1868–1912)

Legion of Honor
April 6–August 25, 2024

Drawn entirely from the Museums’ permanent collection, this exhibition features a selection of books containing color woodblock prints of kimono textile designs. Called zuan-cho in Japanese, these design books were used to communicate ideas between kimono dealers, designers, and patrons, and were considered independent works of art to be contemplated and admired. A companion to the exhibition Japanese Prints in Transition: From the FLoating World to the Modern World, this presentation provides a complimentary exploration of another significant facet of Japanese modernization during the Meiji period.

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Japanese Prints in Transition: From the Floating World to the Modern World

Legion of Honor
April 6–August 18, 2024

Presenting a richer picture of the history and breadth of the medium, Japanese Prints in Transition traces the artistic development of Japanese woodblock prints from 18th-century ukiyo-e (or “floating world pictures”) to the vibrant prints of the Meiji era. The exhibition features more than 140 works drawn from the Fine Arts Museums’ Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, which houses one of the most significant public collections of Japanese prints in the US. This is a rare opportunity to view treasures from the collection, including Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic work The Great Wave and selections from Utagawa Hiroshige’s brilliant series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Prints by contemporary artist Masami Teraoka, whose work grapples with the reception of pop food culture in Japan, serve as a contemporary postscript.

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Woodcut: Primary Printmaking

Legion of Honor
April 13–October 20, 2024

An enduring medium, woodcuts are still used by artists today as a democratic means of conveying powerful visuals and political messages. This exhibition traces the evolution of woodcut prints from the early Renaissance through today. Spanning prints from 15th-century Germany and Italy to the 20th-century revival in Mexico and Germany, where they were used to spread new political ideas, the exhibition also features contemporary experimental prints by Donald Judd and Lonnie Holley.

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American Beauty: The Osher Collection of American Art

de Young
May 18–October 20, 2024

This exhibition celebrates the Bernard and Barbro Osher Collection of American Art, a promised gift of 61 works by 39 artists, including 13 artists entering the collection for the first time. Anchored by Impressionist and Realist artists of the late 19th to early 20th centuries, American Beauty documents the breadth and depth of one of the most transformative donations in the Museums' history and reveals a variety of artistic responses to an exceptionally dynamic and complicated period in American culture. Works by Alexander Calder, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, and John Singer Sargent, among others, will be on view.

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Bouquets to Art
de Young
June 4–9, 2024

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Bouquets to Art is an annual floral celebration that lets visitors engage with the de Young’s expansive collections in new ways. Floral designers return to the galleries to showcase innovative botanical arrangements inspired by museum masterworks.

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About Place: Bay Area Artists from the Svane Gift
de Young
August 10–September 28, 2025

This exhibition is the second in a series drawn from the significant 2022 Svane Family Foundation gift of 42 works by more than 30 living Bay Area artists. The installation explores how artists relate to their environments through place as physical land, as heritage, as the imaginary, and as belonging. Following the initial Svane exhibition Crafting Radicality, About Place examines climate change and its local impact. Some featured artists use found materials not only to address ecological issues but also to add layers of meaning, while others play with figure and ground.

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Art and War in the Renaissance: The Battle of Pavia Tapestries

de Young
October 19, 2024–January 12, 2025

This exhibition marks the first time this landmark cycle of seven large-scale tapestries, on loan from the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy, has been on view in the US. The enormous images, each about 27 by 14 feet, commemorate Emperor Charles V’s victory in 1525 over French King Francis I during the 16th-century Italian Wars. The tapestries were groundbreaking creative achievements that incorporated the latest cutting-edge artistic advances. The tapestries will draw contemporary viewers into the world of Renaissance history, military technology, and fashion and will be presented alongside impressive examples of 16th-century arms and armor.

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Dress Rehearsal: The Art of Theatrical Design

Legion of Honor
November 9, 2024–April 27, 2025

In celebration of the Legion of Honor’s 100th anniversary, Dress Rehearsal brings together a selection of outstanding costume and set designs through two intertwined stories—the history of theater and dance, and the founding of the museum. The exhibition includes rarely shown drawings and designs given to the Legion of Honor by its cofounder Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, as well as works by celebrated artists from Ballets Russes designer Léon Bakst, to avant-garde painters Natalia Goncharova, Pablo Picasso, and Marie Laurencin, to contemporary artist Marcel Dzama.

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Embroidered Histories

de Young
December 14, 2024–December 7, 2025

Featuring favorite stitches and motifs, embroidery samplers have been used to teach needlework skills and literacy since the 14th century. By the 18th century, these textiles were viewed as works of art in their own right. This exhibition highlights European embroidery samplers from the 17th through 19th centuries in our collection. Through a close look at the samplers’ materials, techniques, and designs, Embroidered Histories explores economic, political, and social developments in Europe during these centuries.

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de Young:

Lhola Amira: Facing the Future
Through May 5, 2024

Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style
Through August 11, 2024

Nampeyo and the Sikyátki Revival
Through September 15, 2024

Legion of Honor:

Botticelli Drawings
Through February 11, 2024

Drawing the Line: Michelangelo to Asawa
Through April 7, 2024

Benoit Éditeur
Through March 10, 2024

Bouke de Vries: Memories in Porcelain
Through March 24, 2024

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco respectfully acknowledge the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original inhabitants of what is now the San Francisco Peninsula, and we further acknowledge that the greater Bay Area is the ancestral territory of the Miwok, Yokuts, and Patwin, as well as other Ohlone peoples. Indigenous communities have lived in and moved through this land over hundreds of generations and Indigenous peoples from many nations make their home in this region today. Please join us in recognizing and honoring their ancestors, descendants, elders, and all other members of their communities.

Together, the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park make up the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the largest public arts institution in the city and one of the largest in the United States. Opened in 1895, the de Young is home to American art from the 17th century through today; costume and textile arts; arts of African; Oceania, and the Americas, and contemporary art. Opened in 1924, the Legion of Honor presents European painting; sculpture; and decorative arts; ancient art; works on paper; and contemporary art.

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