July 1 – September 15, 2020
105 years ago a Magical City was constructed inside the City of San Francisco…
…that Magical City was the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE).
The PPIE celebrated three important milestones:
(i) the opening of the Panama Canal in August of 1914.
The Canal assisted shipping by shaving 8,000 miles off the voyage from New York to San Francisco and eliminated the dangerous passage through the Straits of Magellan,
(ii) the 400th anniversary of Vasco Núñez de Balboa’s 1513 crossing of the Isthmus of Panama, thus being the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean, and
(iii) of great importance, San Francisco’s recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire.
With the passage of legislation by Congress, San Francisco was designated to host the 1915 world’s exposition, with President Taft himself breaking ground there on October 14, 1911. From that point the City of San Francisco and its artisans began designing all aspects of the Exposition.
A.D.M. Cooper painted allegorical scenes as possible seals for the Exposition. Perham Nahl’s Thirteenth Labor of Hercules was the image selected as the poster to advertise the Exposition as well as to serve on the cover of the daily programs.
Other artists commemorated the fair with images of some of the awe-inspiring structures constructed for the Exposition, including Anna Althea Hills’s elegant rendering in oil of the Court of the Italian Building, Isabel Hunter’s depiction in pastel of the Court of Abundance and Francis Bruguière’s Tonalist photographs of the Palace of Fine Arts, itself designed by famed architect Bernard Maybeck.
We are pleased to present these original paeans to the PPIE, a Magical City that existed from February 20 to December 4, 1915.
Artwork Featured in This Exhibition