de Young Museum - San Francisco Review

de young museum san francisco

de Young Art Museum - San Francisco

The de Young Museum has incredible galleries of American art, international textiles, and art from around the globe in beautiful Golden Gate Park.

The de Young Museum is a stunning and brilliant work of modern architecture that has drawn worldwide acclaim since its opening in 2005. This museum is a unique and special gem in San Francisco's cultural crown. The museum appears to have been here forever -- yet is so modern it may have been placed here last week. In San Francisco's massive Golden Gate Park competing with a variety of other amazing attractions -- it takes a lot for a museum to stand out. The museum's unusual design has helped to define San Francisco's prominent place in the cultural world.
The museum's construction began when the original museum was destroyed in 1989 by the Loma Prieta earthquake. Private funding totaling over $175 million for the reconstruction allowed the museum to be constructed in a unique way. The de Young blends tradition and nature with an extended roofline balanced at one end with a twisting tower.

Design cues for the museum were taken from the surrounding Golden Gate Park. The intention was to have the building be light, unusual, and blend with the park's setting. The copper skin of the building will age and develop into a green tone patina over the next 15 years. The twisting tower is the building's unique trademark to align it with the pattern of San Francisco's streets.

de young art museum

The main entrance feels casual as you walk into a site-specific installation by Andy Goldsworthy that takes its inspiration from the unique character of California’s tectonic topography. Goldsworthy has created a continuous crack running north from the edge of the Music Concourse roadway in front of the museum, up the main walkway, into the exterior courtyard, and to the main entrance door. Along its path, this crack bisects -- and cleaves in two -- large rough-hewn stone slabs that serve as seating for museum visitors. Two glass-enclosed gardens– the fern court and the eucalyptus court – are natural features in the building that bring the outside inside.

Several areas of the museum allow you to view the beauty of the gardens and park as well as experience sweeping views of San Francisco and beyond. The combination of the stunning views with the art makes for an incredible combination. Some areas are airy and crowned with skylights -- others areas are more intimate and even semi-dark to protect the artwork from harmful light. The design of each gallery is a commentary on the art and how different pieces relate to each other.

The views from the top of the deYoung tower are incredible. You can see downtown skyscrapers; the Marin Headlands, and sometimes the Pacific Ocean, as well as a birdseye view of the museum's architecture and copper roofing. The controversial Herzog & de Meuron design is a touchstone for any fan of 21st century architecture. The museum board's president was attracted to the design team after seeing a uniquely designed signal box and depot at a train station in Switzerland.

de young art gallery

The art galleries flow together and suppot the art collections' styles. The size, style, and lighting of galleries differs based on the art itself. The light variance is most pronounced in areas that allow views out of the museum to the park's beautiful surrounding gardens. The museum's intent is to connect the museum viewer with the outside world. The de Young Art museum allows people, art, San Francisco, and nature to be joined as one. The museum is a combination of tourist attraction and City icon that continues to wow crowds from around the globe.

Days: The de Young is open all days except Monday. Extended hours on Friday nights in spring, summer and fall.

Price: $10 per visitor; a surcharge applies to some special exhibitions: 415-750-3600

All photos copyright licensed for exclusive use with all rights reserved by the de Young museum.


Official Museum Site and Exhibit Schedules