The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.
The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion, a replica of the Palais de la Lègion d’Honneur in Paris, at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. The museum opened in 1924 in the Beaux Arts–style building designed by George Applegarth on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
- On View: The Brothers Le Nain
See the first major exhibition in the United States devoted to the Brothers Le Nain, in a presentation that includes the tender images of everyday life for which they are best known. Working in France during the seventeenth century, the three brothers produced some of the most enigmatic and arresting paintings of their time.
- Mummies and Medicine
Ancient Egypt meets modern medicine in the Mummies and Medicine exhibition at the Legion of Honor that makes use of state-of-the-art scientific techniques to explore two of the Fine Arts Museums’ mummies. Visitors can examine both mummies by means of an interactive virtual dissection table. Hauntingly beautiful amulets and tomb furnishings are also displayed.
- Architecture + Grounds
Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honor—the gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels to the city of San Francisco—is a beautiful Beaux Arts building located high on the headlands in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. The Legion is most noted for its breathtaking setting, offering overlooks of the Pacific Ocean where it spills into San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Legion of Honor Permanent Collections
The core of the Legion of Honor’s collection was amassed by Adolph B. and Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, whose particular collecting focus was 18th- and 19th-century French art. Today its holdings span four thousand years and include European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, ancient art from the Mediterranean basin, and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.