The De Young Museum – Artwork Highlights & Tips for Visiting

The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, located in San Francisco, California houses one of the most significant collections of American artwork on the West Coast. The Museum is located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and was opened in 1895 by newspaper icon M.H. de Young, founder of what is known today as the San Francisco Chronicle. The original Museum collection was comprised solely of M.H. de Young’s personal artwork collection that represented over 300,000 articles that were collected during his 20 years of world travels.

The Museum’s permanent collection today includes paintings, sketches, art sculpture, photographs, and decorative art objects. Of this, the De Young displays 25,000 works of art at any given time. The majority of its collection is made up of the American art collection with artwork dating back from the 7th century to present day. Highlights of this collection include Wayne Thiebaud’s Three Machines, Frederic Edwin Church’s Rainy Season in the Tropics, Grant Wood’s Dinner for Threshers, George Bingham’s Boatmen on the Missouri, and Chiura Obata’s Lake Basin in the High Sierra.

The de Young’s permanent collection also includes the Art of Africa, that represents artwork from over 80 cultural and ethnic groups in sub-Sahara Africa. The collection comprises a large part of the permanent collection and an covers a quarter of the museum’s gallery. Among this collection is a wooden Dogon sculpture used in religious ceremonies and a multi-headed bush spirit from Ijo.

The third major part of the Museum’s permanent collection is the Art of Oceana. The highlight of the Oceana exhibit is the The Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art, a special exhibition of over 400 tribal artifacts such as tribal masks and ritualistic objects. The Jolika collection is the largest collection of New Guinea Art in North America and includes over 400 works of art alone.

  • Hours: Daily: 930a-515p; Closed Mondays.
  • Audio Guides are available at the Main Entrance. Cost: $7.
  • The de Young Memorial Museum offers free guided tours to all visitors. No reservations required. Check with the Museum for scheduling.
  • If you are visiting San Francisco for a few days, you may consider purchasing a CityPASS Card. It gives discounted admission to tourist attractions and Cable Car. Check their website for details.
  • The first Tuesday of every month is Free admission.
  • Admission tickets to the de Young includes same-day general admission to the Legion of Honor.