Legion of Honor Museum -12/30/08

The Legion of Honor Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honor is a beautiful Beaux-arts building located in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge and all of San Francisco, the Legion is most noted for its breathtaking setting.

In 1915 Mrs. Spreckels fell in love with the French Pavilion at San Francisco's Panama Pacific International Exposition. This pavilion was a replica of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris, one of the distinguished eighteenth-century landmarks on the left bank of the Seine.
Alma Spreckels persuaded her husband, Adolph B. Spreckels, the sugar magnate, to recapture the beauty of the pavilion as a new art museum for San Francisco. At the close of the 1915 exposition, the French government granted them permission to construct a permanent replica, but World War I delayed the groundbreaking for this ambitious project until 1921. Constructed on a remote site known as Land's End--one of the most beautiful settings imaginable for any museum--the California Palace of the Legion of Honor was completed in 1924, and on Armistice Day of that year its doors opened to the public. In keeping with the wishes of the donors, to "honor the dead while serving the living," it was accepted by the city of San Francisco as a museum of fine arts dedicated to the memory of the 3,600 California men who had lost their lives on the battlefields of France during World War I.


Rodin's Thinker is perhaps his best known monumental work, first conceived ca. 1880-1881 as the Poet Dante. The image evolved until it no longer represented Dante, but all poets or creators.  The Thinker dominates the Legion's outdoor Court of Honor, and is one of the earliest acquisitions of the more than seventy Rodin sculptures that Mrs. Spreckels purchased and later donated to the museum.

The Thinker, ca. 1880, cast ca. 1904

August Rodin, French, 1840-1917
Bronze, H. 6ft. 6in. (2m)
Signed: A Rodin; stamped: Alexis Rudier / Fondeur. Paris.
Gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels

Small replica of the glass Pyramid at the Louvre Museum.

The museum's spectacular setting is made even more dramatic by the imposing French neoclassical building.

Tall colonnades inside the museum.

This painting is one of the highlight from the collection in the museum

The Tribute Money, circa 1612 by Peter Paul Ruben

The Russian Bride's attire by Konstantin Makosky, 1887

This is a gorgeous painting! The color of this painting is so vivid, rich and so realistic. 

Laure-Emilie-Felicite David, La Baronne Meunier, 1812

Jacques-Louis David, artist, French, 1748 - 1825
I really love Jacques Louis David's painting!  His most popular painting is at the Louvre "The Coronation of Napoleon" and Josephine"


Young Boy Singing (Le Jeune Chanteur), 1650

The Candlelight Master, artist, French, 1620

Check out how well the light and shade of this painting.  You really have the impression that indeed that the light from the candle light is  reflecting on the young boy's face.

The Bath - 1885

 by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Artist, French,  1824 - 1904

Turkish bath in Ottoman harem. Simply beautiful.

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn Dutch, Artist, 1606-1669

Victor Hugo by Auguste Rodin 1917 Marble

Another Victor Hugo by Auguste Rodin 1883 Bronze.

Victor Hugo was a very famous French Poet, playwright, and novelist.  His most popular work include Les Miserables, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Chatiments (poems).

The Three Shades by Auguste Rodin, 1880 Bronze

The Three Shades stand atop The Gates of Hell, gesturing downwards, heads lowered and arms extended, appearing despondent and weary. The composition consists of three casts of the same figure juxtaposed at slightly different angles. Rodin's peers believed The Three Shades signified Dante's warning, "Abandon every hope, ye who enters here," which is taken from the inscription above the Gates of Hell in Dante's Inferno

Close up of the the Three Shades


Holy week in Seville, 1879 by Jose Jimenez Y Arnada

This is actually an amazing painting. This picture does not do justice to the real painting.  The color of this painting is so beautiful and so detail oriented.


This is a close up of the painting (from the left of the 1st picture).  Check out how well it is painted.

Even closer look (middle of the painting) of the same painting.  Check out how each detail is carefully painted and also check out the color of the clothes.

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