The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announce Staff Appointments and Promotion

Legion of Honor and de Young Museum; Photography by Gary Sexton

SAN FRANCISCO, April 28 — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) are pleased to announce three staff appointments: 

  • Web and Digital Production Department: Patricia Buffa, as Director of Digital Strategy;
  • Curatorial Department: Furio Rinaldi, PhD, as Curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts; and
  • Curatorial Department: Renée Dreyfus, PhD, as Distinguished Curator and Curator in Charge of Ancient Art and Interpretation.

"As we look to build a strong future beyond the reigning public health crisis, it is with great pleasure I announce these new appointments to our curatorial and digital teams. Patricia’s and Furio’s global experience and industry leading expertise will be critical as we work together to realize our new strategic vision for the de Young and Legion of Honor” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “I also welcome this opportunity to recognize Renée for her extraordinary contributions to our institution; sharing her great expertise on the culture of ancient civilizations with our audiences through many groundbreaking exhibitions, acquisitions, programs and publications” 

Patricia Buffa joins the Museums from the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, where she has served as the Head of Digital Communications since 2015, establishing and leading the digital communications and content strategy of the museum and concert hall. She brings an innovative approach, strong team management skills, and global experience in digital management, communications, and exhibitions from art institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo (MAXXI), Rome, and a number of international news media portals. As Director of Digital Strategy at the Museums, she will oversee the Web and Digital Production Department. Working in close collaboration with the Museums’ executive leadership team, Buffa will set digital project priorities and timelines, and develop, implement, and evaluate the strategy for the Museums’ digital channels to increase awareness of and deepen engagement in the Museums’ exhibitions, permanent collection, and education and public programs. 

Buffa holds master’s degrees in arts and culture management from the Università Luigi Bocconi, and the Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris. She will start her new position with the Museums on June 15, 2020.

Furio Rinaldi, an expert on 15th- and 16th-century Italian drawings — particularly the schools of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo — will start his tenure as Curator in the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts on May 4, 2020. Using the Museums’ extensive prints and drawings collection, Rinaldi will plan exhibitions, organize installations, recommend acquisitions, conduct research, and share interpretation with audiences.

Most recently Rinaldi was Associate Vice President, Specialist, and Head of Sale in the Department of Old Master and 19th-Century Drawings at Christie’s, New York. Prior to Christie’s, his curatorial experience includes positions in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and at the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Rinaldi has organized and authored De Ludo Geometrico: la matematica e la geometria di Leonardo, Disegni di Leonardo dal Codice Atlantico (Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan), and co-organized and contributed to a number of exhibitions, including Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); Leonardo e Michelangelo: capolavori della grafica e studi romani (Capitoline Museums, Rome); Leonardo da Vinci: The Design of the World (Palazzo Reale, Milan); Il Primato del Disegno (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan); Raffaello e Urbino (Galleria nazionale delle Marche, Urbino); and El Greco (Grand Palais, Paris). His field of expertise also includes Italian 20th-century drawings and artists such as Giorgio Morandi, Umberto Boccioni, and Carlo Carrà.

With a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Rome, Rinaldi also holds an MA and BA in Art History from the University of Milan. His scholarly awards include a fellowship from the Fondazione Roberto Longhi, Florence (2010-–2011), an Andrew W. Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2012–2013) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a grant from the Renaissance Society of America (2015), among other distinctions. He has published extensively, including articles in The Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal, and has co-edited After 1564: Michelangelo’s Legacy in Late Cinquecento Rome (2016). He is currently working on the catalogue raisonné of Perino del Vaga with Linda Wolk-Simon.

Renée Dreyfus is appointed Distinguished Curator and Curator in Charge of Ancient Art and Interpretation, in recognition of her international reputation for scholarly achievement, her respected role as a distinguished curator in her field, and her long-standing institutional commitment to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Dreyfus is currently working on a series of exhibitions exploring life in the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, with Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave, opening at the Legion of Honor in fall 2020. During her tenure at the Museums, Dreyfus has organized more than 20 exhibitions, including the 1979 Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition, which first brought Egyptomania to San Francisco, and its 2009 sequel, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. Other major exhibitions include: Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World; The State Museums of Berlin and the Legacy of James Simon; Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh; Eternal Egypt: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from the British Museum; Ancient Gold: The Wealth of the Thracians—Treasures from the Republic of Bulgaria; Pergamon: The Telephos Frieze from the Great Altar; and The Search for Alexander; to name but a few. Dreyfus frequently shares unique perspectives and insights on the cultural heritage and artistic development in Mediterranean archaeology and the ancient Near East through numerous publications and lectures.

As Curator in Charge of the Department of Ancient Art and Interpretation, Dreyfus has enhanced the collection at the Museums with major Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, Classical, and Islamic art acquisitions. She also co-founded and oversees the Ancient Art Council, which supports antiquities at the Museums. She received her PhD in Near Eastern art and archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley; her MA in ancient Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University; and her BA in philosophy from Boston University.

Dreyfus’s new appointment is effective April 1, 2020.

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, are the largest public arts institution in San Francisco. The de Young museum originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on display view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art. The Legion of Honor museum was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, founded in 1948 by Moore and Hazel Achenbach, is widely recognized as one of the most notable collections of prints, drawings, and artists’ books in the United States and the largest collection of its kind in the Western United States. The department’s strength derives from its diversity—with nearly 100,000 objects representing over 500 years of graphic arts from around the world, the Achenbach’s broad range of works on paper reflects the aesthetics, politics, and social and cultural mores of a wide variety of eras and geographical locations.

Media Inquiries
Helena Nordstrom
Associate Director of Communications
hnordstrom@famsf.org or 415-465-3531