San Diego Museum of Art

1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego
California, United States
Phone: +1 619.232.7931
closed on: Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day
Museum Type: Art
San Diego Museum of Art 2

The San Diego Museum of Art is a museum in Southern California that houses an encyclopedic art collection, yet is best known for its works by southern European artists.

Location and building
Opened in 1926, the museum is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, housed in a Spanish-style building designed by American architect William Templeton Johnson.
The museum’s home, conceived by the architect to match the peculiar style of the structures built in the park for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, is clearly inspired by highly-ornate late-Gothic Spanish buildings such as the University of Salamanca and the city hall of Sevilla.

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Main facade of the San Diego Museum of Art; photo by Nathan Rupert

Permanent collection
The museum’s permanent collection spans various ages and continents; it comprises seven departments, dedicated to Asian art; European art; Art of the Americas; Modern and contemporary art; Photography; and Arts of Africa, The Pacific, and the Native Americas.

As anticipated, the museum is mostly renowned for its large number of paintings by Spanish and Italian (especially Venetian) old masters, and by French impressionist and post-impressionist artists, with notable pieces by Bartolomé Bermejo, El Greco, Juan Sánchez Cotán, Francisco de Zurbarán, Francisco Goya, Giorgione, Giambattista Tiepolo, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Henri Matisse, among others.

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View of an exhibition gallery; photo by Dylan’s World

Giorgione portait of man San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art: Giorgione, Portrait of a Man, oil on panel, c. 1506

Activities at the San Diego Museum include temporary exhibitions of art, design, and architecture; film screenings; guided tours; family programs; workshops; music concerts; lectures; theatrical performances; and special events.

The museum building includes an auditorium, a restaurant & bar, and a gift store.

Cover image by Christina B Castro

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