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California Palace of the Legion of Honor

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

Often called “The Legion of Honor” by Bay Area residents, The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a fine art museum of San Francisco, located in Lincoln Park, with views over the Golden Gate Bridge. The building is a three-quarters scale imitation (not an exact replica) of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, France. The Legion of Honor is the gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of the sugar magnate, Adolph B. Spreckels.

The surrounding Lincoln Park Golf Course is on the site of a potter’s field called the “Golden Gate Cemetery,” which the City of San Francisco purchased in 1867. The cemetery was closed in 1908 and the bodies were relocated to Colma, but during seismic retrofitting in the 1990s, coffins and parts of skeletons were found.

The museum contains a collection of mostly European art, and has a distinguished collection of sculpture by Auguste Rodin. The forecourt of the museum contains Rodin’s “The Thinker.” There are individual works by many other artists, including: El Greco, Rembrandt, David, Gainsborough, Rubens, and many of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists: Degas, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Seurat, Cézanne, and others. There are also representative works by key twentieth century figures such as Braque and Picasso, and works of contemporary artists.

The Palace is seen in the Alfred Hitchcock film “Vertigo (1958) when Scottie follows Madeleine Elster to the museum. Of course, Mission San Juan Bautista is central to that film.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor is one of my favorite museums in San Francisco, and we visit it frequently to see exhibitions that are hosted there. Visit the museum if you have an opportunity.

(I realized that I had first written about the Palace of the Legion of Honor in February of this year. I love the place that much! :-) It’s THAT good!)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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