A wonderful local trip for natives is ‘Monet - the early years’ at the Legion of Honor. We are familiar with his later works, The ‘Bridge over a Pond of Lilies’, the striking ‘Woman with a Parasol’, women in white dresses with flowers and a bit of wind, all beautiful. In this exhibit, from the late Victorian era, of his formative years as a professional painter, you will see his eye pick up subtle highlights and natural light play that evolves later in his remarkable life. This exhibit is a one-of-a-kind done by the masterful hand of the DeYoung/Legion of Honor brain trust. Remarkable and talented people who support the fine arts and right here at home. This trip is less than an hours’ drive time. The exhibit is very popular and ends the 29th of May. You should make a reservation ahead of time, in order to make the best use of your time, visits are set in segments with day and time reservations. Although the down side of waiting is sitting on a bench looking at a stunning view of the Pacific, a living Monet where the play of light, color and motion are breathtaking. The Legion has a nice café for your pleasure, I prefer to pack a light lunch and watch the ocean and ship traffic during a visit. This exhibit is not for all children or those with a short attention span, it is for those that would like to enrich their lives with a few hours that you will remember for many years.
Given the statement of the ‘Brain Trust’ of the museums, it is with a light heart that you might skip over to the DeYoung and see the ‘Summer of Love Experience’ exhibit. This one is filled with the images, art and music of the “counter culture” that manifested in San Francisco during the summer of 1967. As an old ‘Boomer’ I was there, along with a zillion others. The ‘Hippie’ movement draws our children and grandchildren with the hypnotic seduction that lured so many who were looking to change things. This remarkable display brings an old guy back to those times when dirt was young. To try and explain to a ten-year-old granddaughter what it all meant at the time is like reading an Egyptian hieroglyphic to her. Words fail. This walk back of fifty years is fun, even to the grandkids, it runs until August. To see this snip of that time and mind set is well worth the few dollars it takes to cut out a bit of your busy life. This day-trip to the DeYoung should include a stop at the completely remodeled Japanese Tea Garden just a few steps from the museum, itself a work of art.
To get more details search the DeYoung or Legion of Honor and click through the mostly, intuitive web site. As a senior citizen my annual member fees are now very small, a visit to both exhibits with a friend are free to members. Membership also opens up a full year of special notices and fantastic exhibits. Their web site has contact information for joining, reservations and other details for visitors and members alike. Both exhibits are unique and one-time experiences not to be missed. An insiders tip to the Legion exhibit; try to go during the week in off-commute hours. Although the web site has excellent maps the most direct route is over the bridge, through the MacArthur tunnel towards 19th Ave. Turn right onto Clement street, then drive toward Japan. The sign at the beautiful Lincoln Golf Course will guide you in.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.