Museums toast Kempner and Antoinette

There is a rich, offbeat lineup of exhibits coming to the de Young and the Legion of Honor. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Director John E. Buchanan Jr. announced plans at Monday’s annual Director’s Luncheon.

Buchanan also thanked donors, who give $3.6 million annually, and acknowledged the museums’ membership of 81,900, representing $8.5 million a year in contributions. He proudly said the de Young’s attendance was 2.36 million visitors in the past 18 months.

Guest of honor was the Louvre’s president, Henri Loyrette, who spoke of the French museum’s new worldwide expansion, part of which is a first-ever loan to San Francisco. Georges de La Tour’s 1632 “Saint Thomas” is being shown at the Legion of Honor.

Accompanying Loyrette to San Francisco are members of the American Friends of the Louvre. With 20 percent of the Louvre’s annual attendance of 8.3 million coming from the U.S., Loyrette said, his institution is “the world’s second largest American museum” after the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Among upcoming Fine Arts Museum shows: ‘Nan Kempner: American Chic’

De Young, June 16 through Nov. 11

San Francisco native Kempner, 1930-2005, couture collector, member of the Best-Dressed List’s Hall of Fame, was a top New York City socialite for decades. She amassed the largest private collection of such designers Mainbocher, Yves Saint Laurent and Bill Blass.

‘Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper’

Legion of Honor, June 23 through Oct. 7

From the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the exhibit is a cross-section of drawings by Michelangelo, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and Wayne Thiebaud; paintings by Gaugin, Picasso and Gerhard Richter; and photography by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Imogen Cunningham and Diane Arbus.

‘Hiroshi Sugimoto’

De Young, July 7 through Sept. 23

The show represents the Northern California debut for the iconoclastic photographer. He uses a large-format camera, creating multiple series of haunting black-and-white photographs.

‘The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend’

De Young, Oct. 27 through Jan. 13, 2008

Louise Berliawsky Nevelson, born in Kiev, Ukraine, died in New York in 1988. The de Young show will explore her life in context of the Jewish migration to the U.S. Her work was notable for “assemblages” or assemblies of everyday discarded things, some as tall as three stories high. “When you put together things that other people have thrown out,” she wrote, “you’re really bringing them to life — a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created.”

‘Marie Antoinette at the Pétit Trianon’

Legion of Honor, Nov. 17 through Feb. 17

For the first time to be seen outside France, here are the treasures of the Pétit Trianon, the small château on the grounds of Versailles, used by Marie Antoinette. During her reign in the 18th century, the queen herself ordered the furniture, paintings, and sculpture shown in the exhibition.

For 2008, “Gilbert & George” (British performance artists), will be at the de Young from Feb. 16 through May 24. “Chihuly at the de Young” featuring worksby American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly will run June 14 through Sept. 28. “Mary Cassatt and Les Femmes Impressionnistes: Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Bracquemond” will be at the Legion of Honor from June 21 through Sept. 21.

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