Reopening of The Palace of Fine Arts

Art on This day

In 1915 San Francisco held the Panama – Pacific International Exposition, an extraordinary world fair to mark the completion of the Panama canal and showcase San Francisco in all its brilliance in an unstable political and economic climate. The exhibition was compromised of ten palaces, and when the exposition came to end most of these were demolished. However, many felt the Palace of Fine Arts was too beautiful to be destroyed, and as a result a Palace Preservation League was set up.

 The Palace was designed by Bernard R. Maybeck, and is inspired by Roman ruins. It combines Greek and Roman elements, featuring a large rotunda dome within a pergola which is surrounded by water. The dome depicts the birth of Art alongside the ‘golds’ of California, poppies, citrus fruits, metallic gold, and wheat.

As the palaces were only built to hold the exposition, they quickly began to erode. Thus The Palace of Fine Arts has been renovated and rebuilt many times so that visitors can still today enjoy a space which combines both art and nature. 30 September 1967 marks the day the reopening of the palace. It now operates as a theatre and has also been featured in films The Rock, The Room and Time After Time.