01 October 2010

Rising from the Ashes: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915


San Francisco's The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 celebrated not only the completion of the Panama Canal but also the city's recovery from the 1906 Earthquake. The world's fair created an ephemeral city in the Marina that combined the cultures of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Symbolic of the building of the Panama Canal is the The 13Th Labor of Hercules by Californian artist Perham Wilhelm Nahl (1876–1935). The image was used on maps, book covers and catalogs to advertise the exposition worldwide. Unique to this world fair was a uniform color palette chosen by American muralist Jules Guerin (1866 –1946). Drawing on the theme of an Oriental walled city in a natural Mediterranean setting he chose the following colors: French green, oxidized copper green, blue green, deep cerulean blue, oriental blue, yellow golden orange, pinkish red gold, russet, tera cotta, gray and travertine. From these nine hues all colors were selected for architecture, statuary, lighting, and gardens. The immensely successful event which ran from February 20 to December 4, produced many souvenirs including the Pan-Pacific Cookbook: Savory Bit's From the World's Fare. On the cover is The Palace of Fine Arts designed by American architect Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957). Although the walled city was meant to be temporary the Palace of Fine Arts still stands in the Marina as a reminder of a magical time.

7 comments:

  1. I think the Nahl's chosen color palette may be my own.
    Exhibitions/Expositions are a particular interest of mine, thanks for the info.
    would love to peek at the cookbook!
    LG

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  2. Hi Leonard, It was an amazing event especially considering that San Francisco was coming back from the earthquake and in an economic decline. I think we are in need of such an event. Best, Kendra

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  3. Man finds a way through our western most gaps, some as small as this. I once read about the making of the railroad. It was, actually, hand over hand, from east to west. There were trucks and equipemnt but so much was done on the backs of our men.

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  4. Considering our recent FB conversations, I think it is high time for a Great Exhibition 2011, Craftsmen Unite!
    LG

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  5. Leonard, I so agree! We have to look at the past; San Francisco was in despair but the political and artistic communities aligned to create a magical event that turned the city around. xo, Kendra

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  6. Another fascinating part of San Francisco history. Thanks, Kendra

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  7. Epoca San Francisco12 November, 2010 19:01

    Thanks Kendra! Love Maybeck too!

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