The Legion of Honor, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 28 Reviews

100 34th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121 (415) 750-3600

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    Legion of Honor
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    Legion of Honor
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  • Legion of Honor
    Legion of Honor
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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Palace of the Legion of Honor

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 14, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Palace of the Legion of Honor has a majestic setting and that is what brought me to this admitted impressive looking museum. Housing some 4,000 years of ancient and European art, it is nonetheless the exquisite Beaux-Arts architecture that many find more unforgettable, replicating a Parisian symbol of Napoleon’s military order. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday with the $10 cover charge waived on Tuesday. I’d go on Monday and enjoy the headland scenery and great views of the Golden Gate Bridge all to yourself.

    the setting alone worth the visit
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  • smschley's Profile Photo

    Palace of the Legion of Honor

    by smschley Written Mar 12, 2005

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    Situated on cliffs overlooking the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, it is considered one of San Francisco's most beautiful museums. The exterior's grassy expanses, cliff-side paths, and incredible view of the Golden Gate and downtown make this an absolute must-visit attraction before you even get in the door.

    Designed as a memorial to California's World War I casualties, this neoclassical structure is an exact three-quarter-scale replica of the Legion of Honor Palace in Paris, right down to the inscription HONNEUR ET PATRIE above the portal.

    The Palace of the Legion of Honor was founded in 1924 by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels and her sugar-magnate husband, Adolph. Alma convinced her husband to build this museum after she saw the French Pavilion at San Francisco’s 1915 International Exposition. The $35-million renovation and seismic upgrading in 1992-1995 added 35,000 square feet, including six new galleries set around a sky lit court. The lower level includes a paper conservation lab that serves as a training center for paper conservators while providing free monthly clinics to the public.

    A pyramidal glass skylight in the entrance court illuminates the lower-level galleries, which exhibit prints and drawings, English and European porcelain, and ancient Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art. The museum's permanent collection covers 4,000 years of art and includes paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from Europe, as well as international tapestries, prints, and drawings.

    The 20-plus galleries on the upper level display the permanent collection of European art (paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and tapestries) from the 14th century to the present day. One of the world's finest collections of Rodin's sculptures includes two galleries devoted to the master and a third with works by Rodin and other 19th-century sculptors. An original cast of Rodin's The Thinker welcomes you as you walk through the courtyard

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    A wonderful Fine Arts Museum

    by Gypsystravels Updated Sep 13, 2008

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    One of the best small art museums I have ever been to, the Palace of the Legion of Honor has some really wonderful gems among its collection. The size of the musuem makes it a great place to visit if you are pressed for time. I love visiting small museums were you don't feel so overwhelmed by all the art work.

    The Palace of the Legion of Honor has some excellent works from all of the well known impressionists.

    During my recent visit there was a special exhibit titled "Women Impressionist". Four of the major women impressionist were showcased. There were also quite a few works from "Chihuly" which are quite amazing.

    Once you're done visiting the musuem, take some time to stroll along the grounds, or enjoy a picin with was breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    The grand entrance The Assuaging of the Waters - John Martin Russian Bride's Attire-Konstantin Makovsky

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    relaxing at Lincoln Park

    by mindcrime Written Jan 20, 2010

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    We went up to Lincoln Park(pic 5) because we knew this museum was included in of our SF pass. The location is beautiful, overlooking the Bay and ocean with several golf courses around, a peaceful area for sure.

    The Legion of Honor itself houses many sculptures and paintings but also some tapestries and furniture. We only visited the permanent collection while there are temporary exhibitions from time to time.

    I have to admit that I enjoyed the building of the museum which is a French palace replica more than the collection itself. Don’t get me wrong though, it houses some masterpieces from artists like Rubens, Rodin, Van Gogh so there are things to enjoy here for sure. If you are from Europe you have seen better collections but in SF it’s a great opportunity to focus in some famous European artists. But you can skip it if you don’t have much time in SF.

    The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 09.30-17.00. The entrance fee is $10 (seniors over 65 $7, youths 13-17 $6, children free) and you can visit DeYoung museum with the same ticket (same day).
    The gift shops is very small and kind of expensive. There is also a café with outdoor seating.

    Legion of Honor entrance Legion of Honor paintings at Legion of Honor Legion of Honor view from Lincoln Park
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  • jessicadf's Profile Photo

    Get your fill of Rodin sculptures

    by jessicadf Written Sep 21, 2003

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    Mrs. Sprekles gave the city and residents of San Franicso a huge gift in the early 1900s when she gave us the building that was to become the Palace of Legion of Honor. This building houses the most extensive collection of Rodin sculptures outside of the Musee Rodin in Paris. For me, that's reason enough for membership in this fine art gem. Also included are works by such masters as Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and many, many more, as well as a small be gorgeous collection of antiquities from Greece and Egypt.

    Hmm, let me think...

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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    The Legion of Honor - Another Public Museum

    by SLLiew Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This museum houses a 4,000 years collection of ancient and European art.

    Worth spending half a day at this amazing collection.

    Location is in a beautiful setting on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge at Lincoln Park.

    Open daily 9:30am - 5:30pm except Mondays and certain public holidays.

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  • jessicadf's Profile Photo

    View from the Palace of Legion of Honor

    by jessicadf Updated Sep 17, 2003

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    The Palace of Legion of Honor is a somewhat small, but wonderful museum. They have an extensive Rodin collection and are home to the more classic art collections. They usually share this honor with the DeYoung Museum, however the DeYoung was closed down after the 1989 earthquake and its new home is being built.

    This photo is taken from the parking lot of the museum, looking towards the Pacific Ocean.

    What a view!
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  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Landscape of Palace of Legion of Honor

    by atufft Written Nov 21, 2010

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    Alma de Bretteville Spreckels was the wife of sugar producer Adolph Spreckels, and the model for the figurine atop the 97 foot tall Dewey Memorial in the center of Union Square. She was very fond of French culture and concerned for the tragic consequences of WWI. One of her many gifts to the city, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a 3/4 scale replica of the Parisian Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, and includes artwork donated by her and other city donors.

    The elevated location in the center of Lincoln Park Golf Course provides not only a stunning architectural statement, but also a great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown. Lincoln Park was originally a cemetery that in 1908 had been closed and most bodies removed to the Cyprus Lawn Cemetery in the cemetery rich city of Colma, just south of San Francisco.

    The Parking lot in front, which is graced in the center with a circular fountain, and extends around a large red steel geometric sculpture, is the western end of the Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental automobile highway, completed in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The highway generally follows today's Interstate 80 route.

    On the slope below the front of the building are a circular fountain and two bronze equestrian statues by wealthy philanthropist and prolific equestrian sculpture artist Anna Hyatt Huntington, circa 1927. The statue depicting Joan of Arc wielding a sword overhead is one of four such bronze casts originally dedicated in 1915 in Manhattan's Riverside Park (New York) to commemorate the 500th birthday of the saint. Other casts of this are in Washington D.C. and in Balboa Park in San Diego. The other statue is of El Cid Campeador, who holds a lance overhead, was the product of Huntington's husband's fascination with Spanish culture. Both statues symbolize victory in the post WWI period.

    The large red geometric sculpture is the 1961 work of world famed but San Francisco based geometric modern artist Fletcher Benton.

    Slightly down elevation, west of the parking lot, is a white painted bronze Holocaust Memorial by famous Pop Art sculpture George Segal. Added in 1984, this sculpture has been vandalized by anti-Semitic symbols several times.

    Before any of this was built, Frances Willard, famed world organizer of women, stood on the hilltop and utter a quote that is commemorated on a bronze plate on the west side of the parking lot

    El Cid Statue at Legion of Honor, SF Joan of Arc statue at Legion of Honor, SF Benton's Red Geometric Sculpture Segal's Holocaust Memorial Plate memorial for Women Organizer Frances Willard
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    FREE on the 1st Tuesdays of month

    by sunshine9689 Updated Feb 5, 2008

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    Every 1st Tuesday of a month, you can save $10 to go to the Legion of Honor museum. Exhibit tickets are discounted to $5 per person.
    LOCATION: Lincoln Park. 100 34th Avenue.
    HOURS: 9.30am - 5.15pm. Closed on Monday.
    By BUS from downtown: take #1 (get off at Geary/33rd str), then either walk to it or take a short bus ride #18.

    NOTE: There is a good view of Golden Gate bridge from there too.

    February, 08. Legion Of Honor Golden Gate Bridge.
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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Lincoln Park

    by Tom_Fields Written Jan 9, 2007

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    Next to the Palace of the Legion of Honor lies this beautiful oceanside park. Providing some gorgeous views of the sea and Golden Gate, it also has some nice hiking trails. In addition, the park has a memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

    View of downtown San Francisco View of the Golden Gate The Pacific coast The Holocaust Memorial Another view of the memorial
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    Peaceful Museum in SF's Northwestern Corner

    by mydreamquest Written May 30, 2005

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    The parking lots around this museum are make out spots for local teens, a major obstacle or point of reference for players golfing in Lincoln Park, a nice quiet refuge from Downtown for introspective poets, and you may even pass a musician who looks a lot like actor James Earl Jones playing very recognizeable music to popular songs of yesteryerar.

    In front of the entrance in a circle where tour buses come by regularly, and at the entrance is a sculpture of Rodin's "The Thinker."

    Built in the 1920s, it's a classically architectured building with nice calm, quiet courtyards and marble floors. You'll see Monet's Waterlillies here and there are often exhibits, most recently a Mayan Exhibit that I am still slapping myself for not having looked at.

    If you take the 49 Mile Scenic Drive, it's definitely a good break point to enjoy a quieter more peaceful side of San Francisco. It's a short distance from the Cliff House, Ocean Beach, the Sea Cliff District, and the Presidio.

    Rodin's
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  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Most beautiful museum in SF - Legion of Honor

    by aukahkay Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Legion of Honor is a three-quarter-scale adaptation of the 18th-century Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honor is a beautiful Beaux-arts building located in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge and all of San Francisco, the Legion is most noted for its breathtaking setting. Its collections include Rodin's Thinker, which sits in the museum's Court of Honor, European decorative arts and paintings, Ancient art, and one of the largest collections of prints and drawings in the country.

    Legion of Honor Rodin's Thinker
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    Building Architecture and Rodin Collection

    by atufft Written Nov 28, 2010

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    The Palace of the Legion of Honor was a gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels in memory of Bay Area soldiers who died in France during WWI. Completed in 1924, the building is a three-quarters scale replica of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, also known as the Hôtel de Salm in Paris by George Applegarth and H. Guillaume. The Court of Honor is a favorite for wedding ceremonies, but beside the neo-Grecian columns, there is the famed Rodin bronze known as The Thinker. Inside are several other Rodin casts part of the museum's permanent collection.

    The Thinker--Palace of the Legion of Honor California Palace of the Legion of Honor California Palace of the Legion of Honor Rodin Collection at the Legion of Honor Rodin Collection at the Legion of Honor
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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jan 2, 2007

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    One of the finest art museums on the West Coast, with a huge collection of ancient art and many works by old European masters. The museum also has a vast collection of antique crafts.

    While visiting, be sure to stroll the nearby Lincoln Park, which affords some additional exhibits and some great views of the Golden Gate and the rugged coastline.

    The California Palace of the Legion of Honor One of the exhibit halls Sculpture at the Shorenstein Court Antiques Ancient vases
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  • sean420's Profile Photo

    Legion of Honor

    by sean420 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    The Legion of Honor was built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I. The Legion of Honor is a beautiful museum located in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge and all of San Francisco. It was featured in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 masterpiece, Vertigo.

    Legion of Honor

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