Old Master drawings, contemporary quilts, art from a groundbreaking early 20th-century show, and Japanese art’s influence on French Impressionists are among exciting offerings at museums in Sacramento and the Bay Area this fall.
The Crocker Art Museum (216 O St., Sacramento, 916-808-7000, www.crockerartmuseum.org) plans a strong and diverse season beginning with “Rain Forest Visions: Amazonian Ceramics From Ecuador” drawn from the collection of Ted and Melza Barr, (Sept. 19-Feb. 14). October will bring two strong shows: “Divine Ammunition: The Sculpture of Al Farrow” – guns and religion come together in these edgy metal sculptures by an artist familiar to Sacramento viewers from shows at the Michael Himovitz Gallery in the 1980s and 90s, (Oct. 11 to Jan. 3) – and “Back to Life: Bay Area Figurative Drawings” – stunning drawings by Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner, Theophilus Brown and other heroes of the return to the figure in Bay Area art of the 1950s, (Oct. 11-May 1).
But the biggest coup is “The Age of Albrecht Dürer: German Drawings From the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris,” (Nov. 11-Feb. 14). Centered on Albrecht Dürer, a central figure of Renaissance humanism who revolutionized the arts of drawing, painting and printmaking in Germany and throughout Europe, the show comes from the greatest school of art in France. The exhibition explores Dürer and his legacy, moving through the German Renaissance, German Mannerism and artists of the imperial court under Rudolf II. The Crocker is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition, which presents new research about the pioneering artist.
Diversity, too, marks the offerings at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums (415-750-3600, www.famsf.org). The De Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, (50 Hagiwara Tea Drive), presents “Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Huli Ali’i (through Feb. 28); “Between Life and Death: Robert Motherwell Elegies in Bay Area Collections” (Sept. 5-March 6); and “Jewel City: Art From San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition,” the 1915 world’s fair that introduced modern art to the Bay Area and included early Bay Area modernists. The fabulous J.M.W. Turner exhibition of masterworks by the English landscape painter portrayed in the movie “Mr. Turner” continues through Sept. 20.
The Legion of Honor in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park (100 34th Ave. at Clement Street), presents “Breguet: Art and Innovation in Watchmaking,” which explores the history of a watch and clockmaker whose cutting-edge innovations transformed the nature of personal timekeeping (Sept. 19-Jan. 10) and “Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure From Berthouville,” which includes 160 silver and gilt objects discovered by a farmer plowing his field near the village of Berthouville, France, in 1830 (Sept. 19 to Jan. 10). You also won’t want to miss “Luminous Worlds: British Works on Paper 1760 to 1900,” a small but gorgeous show that complements the Turner Exhibition at the De Young (up through Nov. 29.)
The Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin St., 415-581-3500, www.asianart.com) in San Francisco’s Civic Center area looks forward and backward with two strong shows. “First Look: Collecting Contemporary Art at the Asian” gives us a look at works by Asian artists of our own time (Sept. 4-Oct. 11); “Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, van Gogh and Other Western Artists” is a lush and informative show that should not be missed (Oct. 30-Feb. 7).
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St., San Francisco, 415-655-7800, cjm.org) presents “NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology” a show of works by nine digital artists, curated by Renny Pritikin, former director of the Nelson Gallery at UC Davis. The show, which merges art and science, includes digital and robotic sculptures, as well as works in light, sound and video (Oct. 15-Jan. 17).
The Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St., at 10th, Oakland, 510-318-8400, www.www.museumca.org), offers “Yoyos and Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts,” a vibrant show of up-to-date textile works in both traditional and experimental modes (Sept.12-Feb.21).
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (151 Third St., San Francisco, 415-357-4000, www. www.sfmoma.org) is closed for expansion but presents a number of shows at other venues. The Berkeley Art Museum (510-642-0808, www.bampfa.org) is closed while a new facility is being built in downtown Berkeley and also presents shows at other sites. Check their websites for more information.