De Young – Fine arts museums of San Francisco

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco
California, United States
Phone: +1 415.750.3600
closed on: Mondays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Museum Type: Art, Photography / Cinema
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The De Young  Museum in San Francisco, California, is one of the most prestigious art museums in the United States. Renowned for its collection of American Art, the de Young, together with the Legion of Honor, constitutes the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco institution.

Above. the De Young Museum in San Francisco; photo Loa Bacon (CC BY 2.0).

History and architecture
The museum, founded in 1895 by American journalist Michael H. de Young, is housed since 2005 in an iconic building, located in Golden Gate Park, designed by acclaimed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.

Client and architects conceived the building “to make it possible for the Golden Gate Park to penetrate the museum (…) to make the architecture of the new building permeable, open, and inviting for the people of San Francisco” (Herzog & de Meuron)

The museum’s building, clad in perforated copper, is composed of three main architectural elements.
A large horizontal building houses all main spaces, including most of the exhibition galleries; the ground floor accommodates the entrance lobby, the main court, a restaurant, a museum store, and a children’s gallery, all accessible free of charge by the visitors.

A panoramic roof, which is also a gathering space overlooking the famous Japanese Tea Garden of Golden Gate Park.

The Tower, perhaps the most iconic architectural feature of the building, is a vertical structure, which houses multifunctional spaces and an observation deck.

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Cross-section of the de Young Museum building by Herzog & de Meuron

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Photo tom-stromer (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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Photo by Peter Alfred Hess

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Detail of the perforated copper facade, photo by Hannah (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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The de Young’s tower emerges from the fog in San Francisco’s skyline; photo by Eugene Kim

Along with site-specific art commissions, the museum’s collections, which encompass works dating from the 17th century to the present, include one of the world’s largest collections of American painting and decorative arts; artworks from Africa, the Americas, and Oceania; over 13,000 textiles and costumes; a 90,000-item collection of works of paper, prints and etchings; and a remarkable collection of 19th and 20th-century photography.

The de Young museum organizes temporary exhibitions, guided tours, special events, and learning programs for kids, families, schools, and educators.
The museum’s building, fully accessible also to physically impaired people, includes a cafe-restaurant, and a shop.

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Photos by FHKE

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Photo by A National Acrobat

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Photo by Sean Davis

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de Young Museum, courtyard with the work “Drawn Stone” by Andy Goldsworthy; photo by Steve Silverman

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One of the museum’s galleries, photo by Don McCullough

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de Young museum; foreground: Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes; background: Gerhard Richter: Strontium; photo by Thomas Hawk

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