Currently for work, I am living outside of Sacramento, California in Rancho Cordova. I have the weekends off, so I’ve been using those days to explore cool places in California. This past weekend, I visited the Crocker Art Museum, which is located on O Street in Sacramento. The streets in downtown Sacramento are named either by a letter or a number- it’s really interesting!
The Crocker Mansion that makes up part of the museum complex was constructed in 1853 for pioneer banker, B. F. Hastings. The home was designed by Seth Babson. The original style of the home was classical in style.
In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property, which included the home and out buildings. Judge Crocker, was a judge for the supreme court for the state of California. When the home was purchased Judge Crocker and his wife, Margaret, had an extensive art collection that had been started by a trip to Europe. The Crocker family commissioned Seth Babson to renovate the home that he had designed originally in the 1850’s. The new plans included changing the style of the home into an Italianate Villa mansion and to add a gallery for the art collection to be displayed. These renovations were completed by 1872. The following images show the interior of the home:
This view is of the ceiling seen upon entering the Crocker Mansion through the front doors.
Looking up towards the ceilings on the first and second floors of the Italian Villa.
Walking through the front doors of the Crocker Mansion brings you into a foyer where there are double staircases leading to the second floor. This is a view of one of the staircases.
There’s a ballroom…..it’s huge and located on the first floor. The space is used for events. When I was there, museum staff and volunteers were preparing for a kids art activity!
This room is within the historic building but is connected directly to the new modern structure (you would go through the hallway to the right to get to the new building). In this photo you can see how ornate the rooms of the Mansion are.
This wall safe is located in the old office room on the second floor!
Look at that door knob. All of the doors in the historic building were beautiful and these style of door knob was on a number of doors!
The Crocker family were also keen on supporting social and civil causes in Sacramento. By 1885, Edwin had passed away and Margaret worked to establish an art museum from their collection. The museum was originally named the “E. B. Crocker Art Gallery” and was given to the city and placed in “trust for the public.”
In 1887, Margaret moved east to New York, to be closer to her adult children. The E. B. Crocker Art Gallery happened to be the first public art building founded in the Western United States. The following are images of artwork I saw at the museum. The Museum allows non-flash photography throughout the galleries. All rights to the artwork are of the Crocker Art Museum:
This is a view of some of the beautiful Oceanic artifacts the Museum has in their collections.
This large painting was completed in 1911. Mathews was a well known for his murals and is credited for creating, “California Decorative Style,” which combined elements of European Art Nouveau, Classical, and California flora, fauna, and locals.
During the San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Stirling had created a “Colonnade of Stars,” which consisted of 95 Star Maidens of plaster. After the Exposition, the plaster versions of the Maidens were cast in bronze in 1914.
This is a Japanese suit of armor called “tosei gusoku,” which means modern equipment. It dates to the Edo Period of Japan and is from the 17th century. This style of armor is lightweight, flexible, and a key part of a Japanese warriors identity.
Aspara are celestial nymphs or spirit of the clouds or water in the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
McCormick painted this scene around 1893. It is one of here earliest paintings of California. She was inspired greatly by French Impressionism.
Painted in the 1890’s, this painting depicts one of the Greek Muses. The painting dates to a period of art in the United States called the “American Renaissance.”
The painting was painted in 1962 and is oli on canvas. This piece of art is considered Pop Art!
This piece of art is part of the exhibit, Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose. The exhibit marks the 10th anniversary of the art magazine, Hi-Fructose.
Sometime after Margaret passed away in 1901, the building was given to the Fairhaven Home for Girls and then basically abandoned. It remained vacant until 1911, when the City of Sacramento purchased the property with donated funding from a Mrs. Sloat Fassett….Mrs. Fassett actually was Jennie Crocker, one of the daughters of Edwin and Margaret!
In more recent years the art museum has continued to flourish. In 1970, the Crocker Art Gallery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and became a state historic landmark.
1989, saw the building go through a number of renovations. The main home and the art gallery were connected and the historic facade was completely restored. In 2000, plans were started to construct a new addition to the historic building and within 10 years, the Teel Family Pavilion was opened. This new space basically tripled the square footage of the museum, allowing for more room galleries, administrative offices, and educational spaces.