There is an irresistible force in art history whereby yesterday’s slash-and-burn sensationalist becomes today’s venerable bust. Once the generation that clutched its pearls dies away, everybody more or less becomes the peer of Raphael and Monet. The eroticism inherent in Auguste Rodin‘s sculpture was shocking in the late 19th century, but in the context of the Legion of Honor’s gilt ceilings and patrician names on the wall, Auguste’s sexual energy can lose itself in its own augustness.
Max Hollein, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, doesn’t appear to like the dichotomy between the reputations of his organization’s two major museums. In popular shorthand, the Legion can be regarded as regal and static while the de Young is regarded as edgier and more dynamic. This was never quite accurate, but Hollein wants to dispense with it altogether.