San Francisco Sights to See
The Legion of Honor
Its full name is "The
California Palace of the Legion of Honor", but most simply call it "The Legion of Honor". What is it? It is a
complete and compelling art experience both inside and out. Housing a fine collection, the museum is located on a stellar site with awsomely
breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay.
Completed in 1924, and re-opened in 1995 after a two-year, $35 million renovation, the building itself is as much a work of
art as the objects it holds. Inside there are over 4,000 years of art, including paintings, sculptures and ceramics mostly of European style.
Here you can explore some of Rembrandt's lesser known works or see Rodin, Rubens, El Greco or David. Along with the classical masters, the visitor will find both impressionists and post-impressionists
- Renoir, Degas, Pissaro, Seurat and many others.
Here you can see a range of works from Durer's "Adam and Eve"
of 1504 to Monet's "Water Lilies"
of 1914. There are even examples of Picasso and Braque within the
collection. The permanent collection covers 20 rooms and there are several rotating exhibits.
Since most art lovers have visited so many other of the more famous
museums, the Legion of Honor presents a special treat of its own. The
opportunity to view smaller, lesser known works by the great artists is
a rare delight. Typically, for most of us, such chances are limited to
viewing in books or online.
Here visitors can "fill in the gaps" by taking leisurely looks at works the other, bigger, better known, museums missed in their grab for the
most well-known pieces. Then, the uncrowded rooms of the Legion of Honor provide a peaceful setting for contemplating the Van Gogh and Fra Angelico on display.
There are also unique tapestries and decorative arts from throughout
Europe covering a period of several centuries. Drawings from the
masters, and those who should be considered so, flesh out the offerings.
One of the highlights of any visit has to be the presence of several Rodin sculptures in
two rooms. A casting of "The Thinker"
is outside on the grounds and not far away is "The Kiss" of 1884.
While taking in the sculptures, you must also walk around the grounds
and examine the building itself. A three-quarter scale replica of the "Palais de La
Légion d'Honneur" in Paris, the museum was
originally constructed as a tribute to the fallen of WWI.
As if to fit in with the theme, crews involved in earthquake retrofitting in the 1980s uncovered a number of skeletons on the
grounds. The remains were determined to be part of the Golden Gate Cemetery,
which was purchased by the city in 1867. Today, much of the area is covered by the Lincoln
Park Golf Course.
Be the history of the site what it is, it is fully alive today with feasts for the eyes in several ways. Sitting at the end of
the Lincoln Highway, the 3,000 mile long first transcontinental
highway in the U.S, the views atop the hill are spectacular. From here you can see not only the bay, but also the Presidio of San Francisco
and the Golden Gate Bridge.
After you've taken in the stunning vista, move up close and observe the
carving above the entrance of the building. The replica is accurate
down to the inscription "Honneur et
Patrie" above the portal. Then wander into the Legion Cafe and
enjoy a relaxing glass of tea on one of San Francisco's
more-often-than-supposed sunny days as you review the wonder of all you
have been privileged to see at this lovely San Francisco museum.
to learn more about San Francisco.
Home Based Travel Business