Tiny Galleries at Big Museums

We went to the Palace of the Legion of Honor this week to peer between San Franciscans at Impressionist paintings of water and boats. Not that the Monets were not delicious - they were - but I had a much more wonderful time in the two tiny galleries that were empty.   

There was a small gallery of animal paintings and prints: Artful Animals. This should be a permanent fixture of the Palace. The images were serious and witty and from all across the spectrum. There was a poster from the Filmore advertising The Turtles and a funny Thirties Mabel Dwight drawing of a fish and his audience. 

I loved the eighteenth century dandelion illustration of German, Barbara Regina Dietzsch. Something similar:

Probably because there was a snail lovingly drawn. I Googled Francois Louis Schmied (his illustration was of the mastodons and the flying birds) and found wonderful Art Deco book bindings and illustrations.

Ed Ruscha (with Ken Price) drew a page full of house flies.

Down the hall was another empty room with a Darren Waterston bestiary. This was commissioned by the museum Graphic Arts Council. Bravo to them.

The image I keep from the day was a small print by Henri Rivière in the Impressionist show from a collection of his Eiffel Tower images. I have a taste for the tiny even amid giants. It seems to me an image where the water is not a place but a path from these modest skiffs past the Cathedral to the giant engineering marvel tiny in the distance. I bought the book.