Tag Archive | de Young Museum

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: de Young Museum

Day 4, Thursday, March 29, 2018

After our lunch at The Hook, we headed back over to Golden Gate Park to go to the de Young Museum and met up with Lelani’s nephew Niko, who had passes that we could use!

outside of the de Young Museum

The de Young had a special exhibit on the Precisionist Movement; I hadn’t heard of it but it had a lot of art with Industrial Revolution themes.  It was interesting, and not an art movement I had ever heard of before.  They also had some everyday items on display; a car, and household items that were designed in similar styling.  I don’t know if the term Precisionist is used to describe those items – mid-century modern is more the term I have used.

I also checked out the Maori portraits painted by Gottfried Lindhauer.  They were on loan from a private collection and are stunning, but no photos were allowed inside the exhibit.  He painted some from photographs and others sat for him.  His style captures the historic Maori traditions alongside Western culture in his paintings.  At the time many Maori wore Western style clothing along with the traditional tattoos and facial ornamentation…  The pics below were taken from Wikipedia.

We also did something I have never done – we went up to the top of the tower of the de Young Museum.  The view from there is fantastic!  It was so awesome to see the whole city!

the view from the de Young tower


Me in the de Young tower

After the museum, we were going to hit traffic at 5 pm so we decided to make a stop at the Biergarten to wait out the rush hour.  I am not a big fan of German style beers, so I had a glass of Gruner Veltliner and a pretzel snack.  The place was packed!

Our beers and wine at Biergarten

We headed back to the apartment for a little while to relax and get ready, then drove over the bridge to Sausalito to go to Bar Bocce.  The view was amazing; it was right on the water and you could sit out by the beach while they were getting your table ready.  We split everything, and had a fabulous meal of meatballs, calamari with quinoa, and two pizzas.  I had a couple glasses of Chenin Blanc.  It was already dark when we got there, but it would have been really awesome to see the sunset there!

Bar Bocce Pizza

What a great day!



California Road Trip: Monterey

In my last post, I shared our visit to the de Young Museum and Girl with a Pearl Earring.  After our visit to the de Young, Jon and I wandered around Golden Gate Park for a little while.  We considered going into the Japanese Garden, and we wanted to, but we didn’t have very much time before we needed to be getting back on the road.  So the Japanese Garden goes on the list for next time we are in San Francisco.  I swear the list grows larger with every trip I go on!

A View From Outside the Japanese Garden, Looking In

A View From Outside the Japanese Garden, Looking In

After a brief delay due to not being able to figure out where the car was parked (you know you have done it too!  I just admit it!), we were back on the road.  We traveled through strip malls, business parks and suburbs for miles, on our way to Monterey.  Fortunately, the traffic through San Jose wasn’t too bad, and pretty soon we were driving through some beautiful farmland.

We arrived in Monterey and got checked into our hotel, which was right downtown.  It was about 5 pm, and the hotel desk clerk told us that there was a downtown Farmer’s Market until 7, so we checked it out.  It was amazing to see all the fresh produce available in March!  Strawberries, radishes, and lots of food stands, including freshly made donuts, pizza and Mexican food.  Wow.  If I lived in Monterey that would certainly be on my list of things to do each week!

Radishes at the Farmer's Market in Monterey

Radishes at the Farmer’s Market in Monterey

After perusing the Farmer’s Market, we wandered down to the Fisherman’s Wharf.  We were hungry for an early dinner, and we wanted to see what our options were.  I found it to be a very interesting experience.  There are a ton of restaurants on the Wharf and they all have somebody outside trying to lure you in.  They each have a big stock pot with clam chowder, and they offer you samples, trying to show you that their clam chowder is better than the next guy’s.  And they have plated meals to show you their specialties, whether it is lobster fettuccine or oyster shooters.  If you aren’t ready to commit quite yet, they pull out the free appetizer coupon…

Jon and I went all the way down to the end, assessing our options, but I was distracted – by a Sea Otter!  There was a guy swimming around in the marina, so I watched him for awhile and got a couple of photos!  I was pretty excited, because he was the first Sea Otter I saw on our trip!  There is also a dock right off of Fisherman’s Wharf where a group Sea Lions have made their home.  They were very close!  I really enjoyed watching them sun themselves on the dock and I marveled at the fact that they were able to climb on the railings of the dock.

A Sea Otter Clutching His Dinner in Monterey

A Sea Otter Clutching His Dinner in Monterey

Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey

Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey

Eventually I had to pull myself away so we could get some dinner.  We decided to try Rappa’s at the end of the Wharf – Jon was intrigued by the fact that they had oyster shooters.  I tried out a Carmel Wheat beer from nearby Carmel that was very good.  We started out with a half dozen oysters on the half shell – Jon got four and I had two.  They were really delicious – so fresh!  I was in the mood for steak, so I had the rib eye topped with mushrooms, with local vegetables and seasoned rice.  Jon had char-grilled cod with local vegetables and seasoned rice.  Our meals were very good, and it was nice to be able to just look out at the water and watch the boats and the sea lions go by.  Perfect…

Dinner at Rappa's in Monterey

Dinner at Rappa’s in Monterey

After dinner, we explored the Wharf a bit more – we poked around in a few of the souvenir shops and made a stop at Carousel Candies.  Carousel Candies specializes in salt water taffy, and has been making it since 1960.  They also make handmade chocolate and handmade caramel apples, but we were there for the taffy.  This was the best taffy we have ever had!  And Jon loves salt water taffy, so we always get some when we find it.  It was soft and chewy and stayed soft for at least a couple of weeks after we bought it!  I know that because I hid a little stash from Jon so I could have some later – I had to hide it or he would eat it all!

Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey

Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey

On the way back to the hotel, we checked out some historic buildings that are part of the Monterey State Historic Park.  More on that in an upcoming post!  And we ended the evening with a view of the most beautiful moon.

The Moon in Monterey

The Moon in Monterey

California Road Trip: Girl with a Pearl Earring

When I last posted, we had just wrapped up a fantastic day in San Francisco, but the next morning was to be one of the highlights of the trip – the de Young Museum.  When Jon and I originally changed our vacation plans to do a road trip, San Francisco and the de Young Museum were what made me decide on California, and it was the first destination that went on the itinerary.  The reason?  Girl with a Pearl Earring.  This painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer was scheduled to be on display in San Francisco along with 35 other paintings from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.

The exhibit resulted from the fact that the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is undergoing an extensive renovation, and this prompted the museum to allow the exhibit to go on tour in the United States – it consists of 35 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.  These Dutch paintings are paired with Rembrandt’s Century, a collection of over 200 17th century prints and drawings by Rembrandt and other artists from the period, from the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.  The highlight of the exhibition is Girl with a Pearl Earring, painted in approximately 1665 by Vermeer.

The Dutch Golden Age was a period of prosperity in the Netherlands when trade was booming, science was making significant advances and Dutch art was acclaimed around the world.  In the art world, Dutch painters were moving from the religious and allegorical themed artwork of the 16th century to a style more typified by realistic historical scenes and portraits, and art that depicted the working classes.  Paintings of the period often carried a moralistic message as well.

Probably the most famous of the painters of the Dutch Golden Age was Rembrandt van Rijn.  Rembrandt was very prolific, with experts generally believing that there are approximately 300 paintings, 300 etchings and 2000 drawings by Rembrandt out there.  One of Rembrandt’s lesser known contemporaries was Johannes Vermeer.  Vermeer was born in 1632, and during his life was a moderately successful painter mostly known for his domestic interior scenes of middle class life.

He may have enjoyed greater fame had he been more prolific – Vermeer was known to work very slowly, favoring expensive pigments such as cornflower blue.  He painted mostly women, and the scenes he painted seem to all be set in two rooms in his home in Delft.  Only thirty-four paintings are attributed to him today.  His most well-known painting is Girl with a Pearl Earring.  You may know this painting due to the fact that it is the subject of a 1999 historical novel that was made into a movie starring Scarlett Johansen.

At the beginning of the exhibit, you start out with the etchings and drawings by Rembrandt and others.  There are some amazingly realistic etchings which show Rembrandt’s progression as an artist over time.  There are also some wonderful etchings and drawings by other artists, including this one, which was one of my favorites (probably because it is a cat):

The Large Cat - Cornelis Visscher - 1657

The Large Cat – Cornelis Visscher – 1657

But the real draw for me are the paintings.  They were exquisite.  My second favorite painting of the exhibition was by The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius.  Fabritius was born in 1622, and studied with Rembrandt.  His works show his talent, but unfortunately he died young, in 1654, when the Delft gunpowder magazine exploded, destroying nearly a quarter of the city.  Only about a dozen of his paintings have survived.  The Goldfinch shows intricate detail and lighting effects on a light background, which is one of the elements of Fabritius’ style.

The Goldfinch - Carel Fabritius - 1654

The Goldfinch – Carel Fabritius – 1654

And then it was time to see it.  Girl with a Pearl Earring was alone in a room, with a guard and a couple dozen people.  I squeezed in around people to make my way front and center (this is one of those times that being short comes in handy).  I was enthralled.  The brushwork is amazing, and the intricate changes in color give the painting a realism that is not evident in photos.  Even close up, this painting looks like a photograph.  I stood and looked at it for about 20 minutes.  And after I left to see the last couple paintings in the exhibit, I came back to look again.  Stunning is the best word I can think of to describe Girl with a Pearl Earring, and it doesn’t do her justice.

Girl with a Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer - ca. 1665

Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer – ca. 1665

I could have stayed there all day, but that’s not realistic (although, if I lived in San Francisco, I would totally have a membership and would go see her every weekend!).  Girl with a Pearl Earring is wrapping up her visit at the de Young today (June 2) and then will be traveling to Atlanta for an exhibit there until September.  If you have a chance to see her there, don’t let it slide by!

P.S. There are no photos allowed inside the exhibit so thanks to Wikipedia for the photos.  Also, if you are looking for some great summer reading, check out The Man Who Made Vermeers, by Jonathan Lopez.  This is a well written and well researched book on Han van Meegeren, the art forger who had a very successful career forging Johannes Vermeer paintings, among other artists.  Until he got caught.