The San Diego Museum of Art is one of four art museums
located in San Diego's 1,400-acre Balboa Park. In existence for over 70
years, the museum is renowned or its collection of Italian Renaissance,
Spanish Baroque, European, American, Asian and Contemporary Art. When it
opened its doors in on February 28, 1926, it was called, Fine Arts Gallery
of San Diego. The unique architecture was the work of William Templeton
Johnson, San Diego¹s leading architect during that era. His public buildings
define pre-World War II San Diego. Given carte blanche, he worked with
architect Robert W. Snyder and together they spent over $400,000, creating a
facility with 10,000 square-feet of exhibit space.
During the 1920s through the 1940s, Anne R. and Amy Putnam
obtained European Renaissance and Baroque paintings, creating a permanent
collection never before seen on the West Coast. Paintings by Franz Hals,
Anthony Van Dyck, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Francisco de Zurbarán,
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) and Francesco Guardi are in the collection
to this day.
During World War II the museum moved different locations
while Balboa Park served as a 423-bed Navy hospital. It was returned to
the city by the Navy in 1947.
The museum has undergone many transformations through
the decades. A new west wing doubled
it¹s exhibition space in 1966. A reference library and auditorium
for special programs were added along with acquisition of large sculptures
by Aristide Maillol, Marino Marini, Henry Moore and
David Smith, installed in a new sculpture court.
By 1970, an east wing (officially dedicated as the Gildred-Parker-Grant
Gallery) opened, adding 25,000 square feet of
exhibition space and auxiliary rooms. American
works obtained included paintings by William Merritt Chase,
Asher B. Durand, William Michael Harnett, Childe Hassam and Marsden Hartley.
Photo © Debbie Stock
Continuing to thrive, the Fine Arts Gallery changed its
name to the San Diego Museum of Art in 1978. Over 100 works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a collection of small bronzes by California
sculptor Arthur Putnam and 33 works by important contemporary California
artists, were added to the permanent collection.
Directions to the San Diego Museum of Art From the North
Interstate 5 South Exit on Sassafras Street (Airport exit) Continue to
Laurel Street (stoplight) Turn left and follow Laurel Street over the bridge
into the center of Balboa Park Laurel street ends at the Museum's parking
As we went to press, the Museum hours were posted as thus:
The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Museum
hours may vary for special exhibitions. Admission Under $10 Like anything,
we recommend you call or visit the museum's on line web site to get the
current hours of operation and admission fees. I
Mingei International Museum 1439 El Prado,
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101 619-239-0003 Changing exhibitions
of arts of people from all cultures. Ceramics, textiles, toys, and other
objects of daily use.
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego 700 Prospect
St., La Jolla, CA 92037 858-454-3541 AND
1001 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101 619-234-1001
With two locations, Museum has an international reputation
for its thought-provoking exhibitions.
Museum of Photographic Arts 1649 El Prado, San Diego,
CA 92101 619-238-7559
The museum features photographic and film programs, ranging
from classic too contemporary art.
Timken Museum of Art 1500 El Prado, Balboa
Park, CA 92101 619-239-5548
European Old Masters, 18th- and 19th-century American
paintings and Russian icons.