Like the Legion of Honor itself, our café, food, and service are world class. With sweeping views of Lincoln Park and the Marin Headlands, the Legion Café offers a relaxing setting to enjoy a leisurely lunch or a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee. We use as many local, organic, and sustainable ingredients as possible when creating our fresh, hearty, and timely menu. Offering a large selection of both hot entrées and grab-and-go items, every guest is guaranteed to find something to please their palate.
FOOD FOR THE BODY AND THE MIND:
The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca”
A loan from the Galleria nazionale di Parma in Parma, Italy, provides a rare opportunity for viewing Parmigianino’s masterpiece Schiava turca (ca. 1531–1534). Heralded as an originator of Mannerism, Parmigianino developed an expressive style with elongated forms that was also indebted to the work of Raphael and Michelangelo. The title, which translates to “Turkish slave,” derives from the subject’s elegant balzo, a fashionable headdress worn by elite Northern Italian women, which was later mistaken for a turban. The Legion of Honor displays this painting following its exhibition at The Frick Collection, New York.
Parmigianino (Italian, 1503–1540) was, after Correggio, the most celebrated painter from his birthplace of Parma. Heralded as an originator of Mannerism, he developed an expressive, personalized style. His active years were spent entirely in Italy, though his fame and reputation spread across Europe through the wide dissemination of his etchings, which displayed tremendous skill. In its emphasis on elegantly attenuated forms, Parmigianino’s work is characterized by an opposition to the naturalistic style established by earlier Renaissance painters.
Schiava turca, which portrays an unknown young noblewoman, was painted at the end of the artist’s three-year stay in Bologna or upon his return at this time to his native Parma. Its exotic title first appeared in a 1704 inventory, when the painting was part of the collection of Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in the galleries at the Palazzo degli Uffizi. Her elegant headdress had been mistaken for a turban, since the subject had been thought to be a Turkish slave. In fact, the round balzo was a fashion accessory invented by or for Isabella d’Este and worn by Northern Italian women, and appears in several other portraits of the period. The balzo seen here is sewn with gilt thread and decorated with a medallion of Pegasus, a symbol of poetic inspiration. Scholars have proposed that the insignia may be a heraldic reference to a family in Casalmaggiore, near Parma.
It has been suggested that the picture portrays the noblewoman Giulia Gonzaga, at the time of her marriage to Vespasiano Colonna, but definitive identity has yet to emerge. The meaning of the portrait also remains an open question.
Masters of Fire: The Copper Age in the Holy Land
The Chalcolithic period (Copper-Stone Age, ca. 5500–3500 BC) was an era of great social and technological development. Long before the pyramids were built in Egypt and writing was introduced in Mesopotamia, people in the Southern Levant—dwelling in the lands that today include Israel, Jordan, and their surrounding areas—were the first in the region to create metallurgy, temples, elaborate textiles, cash crops for export, and stratified societies. As early as the fourth millennium BC they employed sophisticated methods of smelting, alloying, and casting to produce small copper objects as ornaments and simple tools. In villages ruled by chiefs, artisans sponsored by this powerful emerging elite developed specialized skills in agriculture, ritual, and the creation of remarkable objects made from stone, terracotta, ivory—and metals, thanks to newly invented metallurgical techniques that were the most advanced of their time in the entire Near East.
Masters of Fire is the first exhibition in the United States devoted to the art of this formative period and features oddly shaped zoomorphic ossuaries, basalt stands with human faces, hoards of copper ritual objects, linen and wool textiles, carved ivory human figures, and other hauntingly beautiful objects that illustrate how the technical, social, and aesthetic developments of this period laid the groundwork for later cultural expansion. The exhibition examines four distinct regions, each with its own set of independent traditions: the Golan plateau, the north-central plain, the Beersheba Valley/northern Negev, and the Jordan Valley. Together, their collective production reveals the lives of the people who inhabited the ancient Near East in its early stages of cultural formation.
Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art
March 29, 2014 – August 3, 2014
Intimate Impressionism, on view at the Legion of Honor from March 29 through August 3, 2014, showcases approximately 70 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, interiors, and portraits, from the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
The exhibition will illuminate the process of painting directly in nature with Impressionist precursors. Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind’s plein-air practice inspired artists including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Alfred Sisley. Complementing these paintings of the natural world are depictions of artists’ studios and domestic interiors; several captivating self-portraits by Edgar Degas, Henri Fantin-Latour, Paul Gauguin, and Édouard Vuillard; Renoir’s 1872 portrait of Monet; and representations of the artists’ families, including Berthe Morisot’s The Artist’s Sister at a Window, of 1869.
This celebration of fleeting moments and personal places also highlights some of the Impressionists’ most iconic subjects, such as ballerinas and racehorses by Degas, still lifes by Paul Cézanne, and beautiful young women by Renoir. The exhibition also includes examples of flattened perspectives and patterned surfaces by the Nabi painters Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard.
The temporary closure of the National Gallery’s East Building for major renovation and expansion has made possible the rare opportunity to see this select group of paintings in San Francisco, the exhibition’s first venue.
L: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Madame Henriot, ca. 1876. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, gift of the Adele R. Levy Fund, Inc. R: Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Milk Jug and Fruit, ca. 1900. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, gift of the Averell Harriman Foundation in memory of Marie N. Harriman
Henri Matisse was 60 years old when he began to create original illustrations for livres d’artiste (artists’ books). By the time of his death, 25 years later, he had produced designs for 14 fully illustrated books, several of which are considered 20th-century masterpieces of the genre. View seven of these rare books, including Poésies(1932) and Pasiphaé (1944), in conjunction with the special exhibition Matisse from SFMOMA at the Legion of Honor.
Matisse was stimulated and challenged by book illustration and design, often taking months to prepare pictorial concepts. In his 1946 essay “How I Did My Books,” he wrote, “I draw no distinction between the construction of a book and the construction of a painting and always move from the simple to the complex, but I am always ready to reconceive in simplicity.” In the same essay he declared that the first principle of good book design was a rapport with the nature of the book. For Matisse this meant carefully balancing text and illustration. He handled this masterfully in Pasiphaé with delicate linocuts, and in Poésies with etchings composed of modified arabesques that draw attention to the illustration as much as to the inviting text.
Matisse from SFMOMA
November 9, 2013 – September 7, 2014
Celebrating the Bay Area’s long standing enthusiasm for Henri Matisse, Matisse from SFMOMA traces four decades of the artist’s career—from his early, Cézanne-inspired still lifes to his richly patterned and brightly colored figural paintings made in the 1920s and 1930s.
This intimate exhibition features 23 paintings, drawings, and bronzes from the internationally acclaimed collection of works by Matisse at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), joined by two paintings and two drawings from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s own important Matisse holdings.
Matisse from SFMOMA is jointly organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Major support is generously provided by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.
Ticket Information: Adults $20, Seniors 65+ $17, Students $16, Youths 6-17 $10 and Members and Children 5 and under are free.
For more info, go to legionofhonor.famsf.org.
L: Henri Matisse, La Conversation (The Conversation), 1938. Oil on canvas. SFMOMA, Bequest of Mr. James D. Zellerbach. 93.149. © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York R: Henri Matisse, Young Woman in Pink (La Jeune Femme en Rose), 1923. Oil on canvas. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, memorial gift from Dr. T. Edward and Tullah Hanley, Bradford, Pennsylvania. 69.30.134. © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reproduction, including downloading of Henri Matisse works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.