Thursday, October 21, 2010

The City Club of San Francisco and Allegory of California

Last Monday, Anne, Sebastian and I went for a guided tour of the City Club of San Francisco, located in the former building of the Pacific Stock Exchange.

The interior of the City Club is considered to be the best example of the Art Deco style in San Francisco. However, a true highlight of the tour was "Allegory of California", the very first mural that Diego Rivera painted in the US. It was a rather controversial decision to commission painting of the mural for the Stock Exchange to a well-known communist...

The City Club is not normally open to the public, so the only way to see the mural is to go on a guided tour. Such tour is offered for free (a small tip is encouraged and appreciated) once a month by the San Francisco City Guides.

We were expecting Rick Evans of San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour to be our guide, but unfortunately, he did not show up. The older lady that was leading the tour instead of him, was just not as knowledgeable and engaging. Still, it was time well spent as both the mural and the interior of the City Club are definitely worth seeing.

Diego Rivera's 32-ft high Allegory of California fresco finished in 1931:

The beautiful brass balustrade on the grand staircase between the 10th and 11th floors designed by Robert Boardman Howard:

The Main Dining Room on the 11th floor:

The Cafe on the 10th floor:

The English hunting scenes by Otis Oldfield on the windows of the Wine Cellar:

The entrance hall to the Pacific Stock Exchange Club:

The ceiling of the entrance hall:

The building's facade with Doric columns and sculptures "Agriculture" and "Industry":