Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Mexico City, Mexico
December 3, 2004
Although we had not planned to see any cultural sites while in California, we could not resist the Legion of Honor. It is spectacularly located at the top of a hill, inside a park/golf course with views of the Pacific Ocean and downtown San Francisco. Previously, we read about a special exhibition being held here on the Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, and while driving by, we decided to stop and check it out. The small parking lot at the museum was already full, but we easily found parking at the bottom of the hill. While strolling up the gentle hill, we could not help but notice that we were getting more exercise than any of the sportsmen playing the golf course using electric carts.
Admission was a rather steep $12 for both the permanent collection and the Mayan Court Exhibition. It is not often that entry into museums in Germany exceeds $5.
The Mayan exhibition was in the basement, in a special exhibition area. Although the exhibition was fairly small, filling around ten rooms, the quality of the works on display was excellent. As in many other museums, the curators saw fit to make the minor descriptions of works impossibly small to read from more than two paces away. Renting an audio guide would definitely have been a sensible option. The exhibition rooms were also very crowded, and I missed the Japanese system of a designated route that all visitors religiously follow, allowing you to see all works while moving in an orderly queue through the exhibition. Furthermore, here in San Francisco, my height was less of an obvious advantage than it was in Tokyo.
The permanent exhibition is spread over around 20 rooms and consists of European art, mostly but not exclusively from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. For obvious historical reasons, the works available to a New World museum are more limited than for a European counterpart, and the first thing I noticed was that many paintings were physically much smaller than I would have expected in a European museum. The exhibition gave a good overview of European art with, shall we say, lesser-known works by all famous artists. Like any self-respecting museum with a room dedicated to the French Impressionists, it has a Monet Water Lilies. I was beginning to wonder how many did he actually paint – it seems at least one per major museum, with a couple of extra for the really large ones? A Rodin Thinker sits in the courtyard.
Although the collection is doubtlessly very good, I could not help but reflect that I have been in several provincial museums in Germany with more impressive collections at a quarter of the admission price or less. Maybe we were simply not in the mood for art and culture, but on the whole, the most impressive part of the visit was the view of San Francisco while strolling down the hill, back to the car.
From journal Return to San Francisco
February 6, 2003
At the center of the park sits the majestic Legion of Honor. A more striking building or location there never was. Views over most of the city with wonderful exhibits (including Rodan's). What makes this museum so unique is the fantastic walking trails just beside the property. The Coastal trail provides fantastic views and beach access as well. If you love to shoot pictures, this is the place to go.
From journal San Francisco Special Spots
Auckland, United Kingdom
January 7, 2003
NB: The cafe is quite pretentious and very expensive.
From journal San Francisco - good times
New York City, New York
June 6, 2000
From journal City by the Bay