We took a little impromptu drive in to San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum yesterday afternoon for their Saturday afternoon organ concert in the Rodin gallery. We hadn’t seen the current Tissot exhibition, so this was a twofer. And by the way, the painting above, October, is what is on all of the museum’s information on social media. Getting a clear shot of the painting was almost as hard as getting one of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.
I didn’t know much about Tissot’s life or works, and enjoyed this exhibition immensely; his work is incredible in its clarity of the tiniest details of the clothing and all else in the painting. And finding out about his life touched me.
The afternoon was winding down in the museum, and it was time for the organ concert performed an hour before closing every Saturday.
The organ is a pipe organ designed by Ernest M. Skinner and was installed inside the Legion of Honor in 1924. It is made of mahogany, walnut and ivory keys and stops. There are 4,500 pipes in 63 ranks. 4,000 of the pipes are hidden behind a wall that is the entry into this gallery that houses Rodin sculptures, and there are 500 more pipes in the opposite wall topped by a dome.
The 4,000 pipes are behind this wall
The other 500 pipes are behind this domed area on the opposite wall, and above Rodin’s sculpture The Three Shades.
It was beyond impressive to hear this organ and observe the sculptures in the room at the same time. It was a room filled with people of all ages, sitting in chairs, standing in back against a wall, and sitting on the floor.
The organist, Jonathan Dimmock, played for 45 minutes, interspersed with explanations of the organ itself, and the pieces he chose to play. One piece he talked about, and I can’t remember the name, had to do with how music can be not only romantic, but sensual. I totally lost him as my eyes got stuck on “The Kiss” sculpture in front of me.
But I digress.
The concert is a not to be missed if you every visit San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, and can plan it for a Saturday afternoon.
It was time to close up the museum, and it was sunset; we quickly headed down to Ocean Beach for the final jewel in the crown of our afternoon.