Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What A Crocker! - Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA

Crocker Art Museum
Sacramento, California
a pictorial tour

OK – so here’s the deal… Richard and I have been visiting my brother in Sacramento for more than 20 years, but in all those years, I had never heard of the Crocker Art Museum.  Oh, I’m sure Bob told me about it – he’s been a member forever, but you can’t prove it by me (it’s that ‘peri-senility’ thing – it’ll get you every time)…

Well, one morning a few weeks before Thanksgiving while sipping black decaf, I ran across an LA Times review of an exhibition of Wayne Thiebaud’s work at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.   Crocker what?!  Where?! Thiebaud, a renowned artist, lives in Sacramento (Who knew? Not me.) and though his work has been exhibited around the world, his museum home is the Crocker.  I loved the pieces I saw in the paper and wanted to go.  Richard wanted to go.  And Bob & Nguyen wanted to take us.  So when we arrived for our Thanksgiving-week visit, we set aside a day to see the exhibit, have lunch (Bob promised the café served a great cheeseburger) and explore the museum.  Sounded like a plan.

I had no idea how amazing this world class museum was.

The museum is named for Edwin B. Crocker, a 19th century state Supreme Court judge and a prominent California “Abe Lincoln” Republican who promoted national unity and opposed slavery.  His brother was Charles Crocker one the major railroad barons ‘back in the day’ and one of the organizers of the Central Pacific Railroad Company for which Edwin was legal counsel.

Edwin and his second wife, Margaret (also an ardent abolitionist) lived in an Italianate mansion

w/ a connecting “Italianate” building built as an art gallery to house their extensive collection of art

  – but that was only the second floor.

The first floor

had a skating rink, a bowling alley, a billiard room, a library and a natural history museum.  (I could’ve lived there!)

When Edwin died in 1875, Margaret gave the art gallery building and its collection to Sacramento “in public trust” forming the EB Crocker Art Gallery, the predecessor to the present day Crocker Art Museum, which recently reopened after renovations that added a new 125,000 square foot space (the Teel Family Pavilion) – a classic contemporary design, which tripled the size of the museum.

Though the Crocker remains dedicated to the history of California artists, the museum’s collection has expanded to include world class work from all over the globe.

And it has a terrific plaza-like indoor café/cafeteria

that serves entrees such as ale braised Bledsoe pork on creamy polenta, oven baked salmon w/ roasted root veggies, Petaluma chicken breast salad w/ Shaft blue cheese dressing… a kid’s menu including fried, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and mac & cheese…. (had to get the food in, right?)

And yeh – that cheeseburger made from Niman Ranch beef.  Bob was right.  It was good.

But as good as that cheeseburger was, the art was way better.

Here are just some examples of the Crocker's diverse collection...

A few pieces by Wayne Thiebaud (the ties pic is a particular favorite of mine):

Pottery, Ceramics & Glass:


Tail of the Pup is a personal favorite because it was one of my favorite hot dog stands in Los Angeles.

Interior 'landscapes':

Still Lifes:


All of these, of course, are just a few examples of the artwork housed in this wonderful museum.  So, if you're ever in Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum is a MUST stop.  Enjoy the art ... the architecture - and, have a delicious cheeseburger.


Anonymous said...
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Barb said...

I was just there Dec 2!!!!! I have been there many, many times over the years but had not been inside the new part yet. Not sure I like the modern lines of the new wing... would have preferred that they matched the style of the home.....but, I was told it would have been far too expensive. My favorite part of the museum is the old house. Such a magnificent mansion. The Stanford Mansion is supposed to be beautiful, too, but I have not been able to see it, yet.
Next time you go, have the braised pork. Wish I had your talents for description. Lets just say it was to die for! : ) Hugs, Barb

bobsaari said...

We Sacramento folks finally have a place where we can get lost in art---- a museum that is a true destination spot for us.

Susan H. said...

Loved the post. Love Wayne Theibault. Had no idea he was alive and lived in CA.