From the sweeping panoramas of the nineteenth-century American West to works that reflect the concerns of artists living and working in California today, the paintings, drawings, and prints featured here from the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco convey a multifaceted image of the Golden State. Art made in California forms a core component of the institution’s collection and demonstrates the Museums’ decades-long history of supporting the region’s artists.
Highlighting the scope and quality of the Museums’ holdings, the works reproduced in Artistic California celebrate the stunning natural beauty, utopian idealism, and positive outlook of a region that has long fueled its residents’ unceasing quests for technological breakthroughs; social evolution and revolution; and personal, professional, and creative growth. At the same time, the state is also an epicenter for many of America’s gravest challenges, including surging wealth gaps and unhoused populations, and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Art produced in California reveals the vibrancy and diversity of the region’s people and places, while also reflecting these complex issues and how our understanding of them has changed over time.
Emma Acker is curator of American art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.