Announcing 2018 Exhibitions at the Legion of Honor

Dec 6, 2017

Photograph of exterior of Legion of Honor museum.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to share a preview of upcoming exhibitions opening at the Legion of Honor in 2018.

Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters
June 30–September 30, 2018

Premiering at the Legion of Honor, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters is the first major international exhibition to juxtapose works by England’s nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with those that directly inspired its members: Italian and Netherlandish art that predated the High Renaissance. Through major loans of paintings, tapestries, and decorative arts, as well as significant works drawn from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s own collections, the exhibition will demonstrate the Pre-Raphaelites’ fascination with the Italian old masters, including Fra Angelico and Pietro Perugino and their northern contemporaries, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.

The exhibition will trace the Pre-Raphaelite circle’s “rediscovery” of Sandro Botticelli. It will also explore how the second generation of Pre-Raphaelites’ tempera revival practices were influenced by Raphael and artists of the late Renaissance, such as Titian and Veronese. Major loans of famous Renaissance paintings from collections in Italy, Austria, and the United Kingdom, will illustrate these artistic affinities for the Legion of Honor’s audiences.

The Pre-Raphaelites’ attraction to the art of the past was not limited to paintings; they were also fascinated by decorative arts and tapestries. The presentation will also make connections between sixteenth- and nineteenth-century textiles and stained glass in a rich multimedia experience.

Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters is curated by Melissa Buron, associate curator of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection
November 3, 2018–February 24, 2019

This exhibition, opening at the Legion of Honor in early November, will explore themes of influence and exchange between India and Europe through jewelry, jewel-encrusted jades, famous gemstones, enameled gold and other precious works of art. East Meets West will feature over one hundred and fifty objects made in India or inspired by India, ranging in date from the seventeenth century to the 1930s.

Under successive rulers, Indian jewelry and works of art developed different characters, the Mughals arriving in the sixteenth century brought Persian and Muslim influences, the British raj in the nineteenth century imported European styles and craftsmanship, but in the twentieth century influences flowed in the opposite direction with Indian jewelry inspiring great European jewelry houses, such as Cartier, to make pieces in the Indian style.

Gender also played a significant role; the magnificent jewelry made in India was destined exclusively for men to wear, whereas in Europe significant jewelry was worn by women. Conversely, great jewelry made for European queens such as Catherine the Great of Russia, could be happily worn by male maharajas in India.

This exhibition will also include a “treasury” showcasing famous gemstones such as the Arcot II diamond (formerly belonging to the Queen of England), the Idol’s Eye (once owned by Imelda Marcos), the Indore sapphire, and other treasures like a jade dagger owned by Shah Jahan, the builder of the of Taj Mahal.

East Meets West follows other exhibitions of jewelry and decorative arts organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, including Read My Pins: The Madeline Albright Collection (Legion of Honor, 2016-17), The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond (de Young, 2013-14), and Cartier and America (Legion of Honor, 2009-10).

East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection is curated by Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Additional Exhibitions:

Framing the Body: Form & Figure
On view through March 4, 2018

The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine
On view through August 26, 2018

Lynn Hershman Leeson: VertiGhost
December 16, 2017–March 25, 2018

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe
February 10–May 28, 2018

Paris 1913: La Prose du Transsibérien and the Flowering of the Avant Garde
March 10–July 8, 2018

Julian Schnabel
April 21–August 5, 2018