Home -> Other California History Books -> A Brief Guide to the Palace of Fine Arts - Panama-Pacific International Expostion - Post Exposition Period - Forward

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It will be immediately obvious to those who visit the Palace of Fine Arts during the post-Exposition period that what they have to consider is almost entirely an exhibition of contemporary work. Practically all of the retrospective paintings which during the Exposition period so completely covered the entire history of art in America have disappeared. They were loaned for a definite period and at the close of the Exposition they had to be returned to their owners. For the visitors to the present Exposition the book of history has been taken away, and they are face to face with the present - also they are afforded glimpses of what the future promises to bring, or perhaps it might he said what it threatens to bring. For not only is this a contemporary showing; it is at the same time almost startlingly representative of the very newest tendencies, including some of the newest fads and freaks.

However, to those who require something traditionally solid to cling to in the midst of the whirl and blaze of ultra-modern movements, there is the splendid collection of Greek statuary, presented to the people of San Francisco by the Greek Government. It surely is a reasonable hope that around this collection will be gathered the permanent art museum of San Francisco's future.

Of the foreign sections, only these representing Holland, Norway and Chile are retained; together with the international Section, including Austria-Hungary, England, and Spain, and the collection of Italian Futurist paintings and sculpture.

It is impossible within the necessarily restricted limits of this little book to deal more than very sketchily with the tremendous amount of material contained in this new exhibition. Moreover, the whole showing was not complete when we went to press. All that we can hope to do is to indicate some of the chief features, and to serve a practical rather than an esthetic purpose. The table of contents will indicate the plan which the booklet follows. For these who desire to supplement their observations with a literary study of the subject, no better recommendation can be made than to direct their attention to the monumental Catalogue de Luxe, edited by John E. D. Trask and J. Nilsen Laurvik, and contributed to by many competent authorities.

If it is true - as most unquestionably it is true - that the Panama-Pacific Exposition was by far the most successful world's fair ever held, it is also emphatically true that it was Art which of all the factors entering into the complex matter of the Exposition was chiefly responsible for its success. The Exposition directors recognized this fact when they decided to maintain the Department of Fine Arts for an extra four months season. The chief of the Department, Mr. John E. D. Trask, to whom so much of the credit for the artistic success of the Exposition is justly due, was dispatched to the East, with Francis McComas to assist him, to gather works to replace those which were removed.

The people of San Francisco - indeed, of California - will forever be under a debt of gratitude to the Directors of the Exposition for the generous spirit in which they responded to the public interest in Art which was so greatly stirred during 1915. It is the hope of all those who have the best interest of California at heart that this post-Exposition period may result in so directing the energy of the people of San Francisco as to bring about the definite establishment of a great permanent Museum and Institute of Art.

The San Francisco Art Association, which hopes to he the center of the new movement in Western Art, was given the privilege of publishing this brief guide by the courtesy of the Exposition Directors. It will also soon publish a complete catalogue of the exhibition. Both these books are given free to its members. The proceeds of their sale to the public will be applied to the funds of the Association.

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