Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper

Jun 1, 2007

Black and white drawing of seashell.

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), The Shell (Conus marmoreus), 1650. Etching, drypoint, and engraving, 4 7/16 x 5 3/4 in. (11.3 x 14.6 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, gift of Dr. T. Edward and Tullah Hanley by exchange, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts Endowment Fund and Anonymous Bequest, 1997.42.

San Francisco, June 2007—This summer at the Legion of Honor, where the classic can always be found, works on paper by artists from Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn to Wayne Thiebaud represent a decade of collecting, and master sculptors Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore are highlighted in special installations.

The riches of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts are celebrated in an exhibition of over 250 works on paper acquired during the last decade. Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper runs June 23 to October 7, 2007. The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, founded in 1948 by Moore and Hazel Achenbach, is the Fine Arts Museums’ department of prints, drawings, and photographs. Recognized as the largest American museum collection of its kind in the West, works range from the Renaissance to contemporary art and also include Asian art.

Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper includes many works shown for the first time. Works include drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Anthonie Waterloo, Giacomo Balla, Edward Hopper, Jean Arp, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Thiebaud, along with prints by Federico Barocci, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, George Stubbs, John Constable, Paul Gauguin, Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, and Gerhard Richter, and artist books by William Blake, Edouard Manet, Marcel Duchamp, and Deborah Oropallo. Special emphasis has been placed on the acquisition of photography, with important works by Carleton Watkins, Lewis Carroll, Imogen Cunningham, and Diane Arbus on view. Naonobu, Kunisada, and Yoshitoshi represent old master Asian acquisitions.

“The strength of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts lies in the diversity of its collection,” says Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. “It is our mission to acquire a broad range of graphic art that reflects the aesthetics and politics as well as the social and cultural mores of the era in which it was created.”

Many individuals who have donated works of art or supported the purchase of art for the Museum’s collections will be celebrating with a preview of the exhibition on June 21. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper is made possible by the generosity of numerous individuals dedicated to the Museums. Contributions of note include an archive print from every published edition of Crown Point Press, the premier intaglio press in America, and the extraordinary philanthropy of the late Phyllis C. Wattis, who was responsible for the acquisition of a major early Willem de Kooning drawing, a Kurt Schwitters collage, and the complete graphic arts archive of Ed Ruscha. The major 1998 gift of the Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books and the establishment of a permanent book gallery at the Legion have transformed the direction of the collection.

June 2 to October 7, 2007, at the Legion is an installation of works by Rodin, including many of the remarkable original gifts from Alma de Bretteville Spreckels and a bronze statue of Claude Lorrain given by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, demonstrating the artist’s radical approach to sculpture and his link with the modern era. Concurrently, Henry Moore, the most celebrated Modernist sculptor of his day, is represented in two galleries by a large tapestry, prints, drawings, and maquettes from the collection of Leonard and Sophie Davis. Working Model for Sheep Piece, a gift to the Museums from the Davis collection and most recently on view at the de Young, is included in the Legion installation.

The Rodin collection is one of the finest in the world outside the Musée Rodin in Paris. Composed of more than 80 sculptures in a variety of materials, the collection surveys a wide range of Rodin’s prolific output. It covers all periods of his career and reveals the rich variety of his themes and stylistic approaches. Claude Lorrain, recently given to the Museums in honor of Lucy and John E. Buchanan, Jr., is an important addition to the collection. Likewise, the display of Henry Moore pieces from the Leonard and Sophie Davis collection along with their major gift to the Museums, represents the wide range of Moore’s stylistic and thematic expression.

Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and is sponsored by UBS.

The Legion of Honor displays a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in a Beaux-Arts style building overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue and Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121

Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 am–5:15 pm. Closed on Monday.

$10 adults, $7 Seniors, $6 youths 13-17 and students with a college I.D. Members and children under 12 are free. The first Tuesday of every month is free.

Media contact:
Robin Wander \ 415.750.2604 \

Mary Jo Bowling \ 415.750.3553 \