article picture

GuideLines Quiz

Do you know what and where this building is?

article picture



The building is the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, a gift to the City from Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, and home of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums.

The building is based on the Palais de la Legion d’Honneur in Paris, France. This is the back of the building. The sculptural figures on the dome are based on the gods and goddesses: Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, Minerva, Diana, and Ceres. The busts (thirteen in all) are based on unidentified people of their day.

GuideLines heard that the sculptures are made of fiberglass and contacted Elisabeth Cornu, retired conservator, to confirm. She told us:

They are replicas of the original roof sculptures of the Legion d'Honneur Museum in Paris. The original San Francisco replicas were made in concrete and rebar back in the 1920's, but these Legion sculptures started to drop chunks of concrete onto the ground back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Hence, when we redid the Legion of Honor between 1991 and 1996, we also had the roof sculptures recast in fiberglass/resin and pulverized limestone, each with an interior metal reinforcement structure. The work was done by the Manuel Palos Workshop in San Francisco. The original reproduction sculptures were destroyed.

article picture

The rear of the Legion building. Now you do not have to worry about concrete dropping off the sculptures. But watch out for the balls from the golf course back there.

Send comments and questions to guidelines@sfcityguides.org
Material of San Francisco City Guides. Please give credit to the author and SF City Guides if referenced or reproduced.