French Visits Paley Collection at de Young


Sarada Symonds, Staff Writer

French teacher Ed Willy took his Honors and AP French students on a trip to the de Young Museum in San Francisco on Thursday, November 29. The de Young is currently home to two exhibitions relating to French culture, Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance and The William S Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism.

According to Willy, the purpose of the trip was to teach the students about the artists. “We went specifically to see the Paley collection and the Rudolph Nureyev exhibit, since both relate to French culture. For example, Nureyev was director of the Paris Opera Ballet for many years and achieved world wide fame,” said Willy.

Assignments students were require to complete as part of the trip focused on the traveling exhibits, which contained a variety of art relating to France, rather than the museum’s permanent collection. The William S Paley Collection contains artwork from artists who lived in France, including Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault. Junior Ian Shoemaker said, “we learned about different French artists and artistic movements that began in France.”  The exhibit focused on modernist and post-impressionist art, with emphasis the Fauvism and Abstract art.

The William S Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism will be on display through December 30.

Students also learned about a dancer and director of the Paris Opera Ballet. Rudolph Nureyev was “recognized worldwide as the most magnificent and charismatic dancer of his time,” according to the de Young exhibit literature. Shoemaker said, “He was a ballet dancer in Russia, then in France, then in the United States.”

The exhibit is on display from October 6, 2012 to February 17, 2013.

Students explored the French works, as well as various American artists in the museum’s permanent collection, including photographer David Lyon. Lyon’s work includes memorializing the Civil Rights movement of the sixties and, more recently, the Occupy Movement in California.

“My favorite part was the permanent collection because there was more artwork,” said Junior Zack Beck. “There was more to see and experience.” Other artists on display included local artist William Keith and portraitist John Singleton Copley.

The trip was scheduled to take all day, and most students were willing to sacrifice a day of school to visit the museum. According to Beck, “It was fun and a new experience. I’m not used to getting to miss school on a school day.”