2015 marks the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) in San Francisco, California. The De Young Museum is celebrating the anniversary with an outstanding exhibition that features more than 200 works, many of which were on display in 1915.
To celebrate the grand opening of the Panama Canal and to commemorate the reconstruction of San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was a vital moment in the city’s history and signaled to the world that San Francisco had — and would continue to be — an epicenter for Western culture and artistic production. Spanning some 76 city blocks and showcasing national and international innovation, industry, and arts, the PPIE encompassed more than 20,000 works of art in all types of mediums and styles from major American and European artists.

Claude Monet, “Rouen Cathedral Façade,” 1892, oil on canvas, 42 1/4 x 29 1/4 in.
(c) Musee d’Orsay, Paris 2015

A century later, the effects of the PPIE are still being felt across the city of San Francisco, and throughout California. In celebration, the De Young Museum has brought together more than 200 paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs from the PPIE that have not been seen together since that first exhibition, and may never be together again. James Ganz, lead curator of “Jewel City,” says, “The curatorial team has spent more than three years assembling this ambitious exhibition that re-creates highlights of the original Exposition of 1915. Our efforts to identify and locate actual works of art shown in the PPIE have led from our own storerooms to holdings as far away as Budapest, Hungary. In a way, we are following in the footsteps of the original organizers as we bring back to San Francisco a compelling array of significant works by American and European artists last seen together here a century ago.”

Auguste Rodin, “The Age of Bronze,” ca. 1875-1877, bronze, 71 1/2 x 21 1/4 x 25 1/2 in.
(c) Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco 2015

Among the featured blockbuster names are Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Ansel Adams, Umberto Boccioni, and Winslow Homer. “Jewel City: Art from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition” opened on October 17 and will be on view through January 10.

Thomas Eakins, “The Concert Singer,” ca. 1890-1892, oil on canvas, 75 1/8 x 54 1/4 in.
(c) Philadelphia Museum of Art 2015

To learn more, visit the De Young Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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