The Salon Doré, a period room at the Legion of Honor, has a long and busy history, most of which has now been uncovered by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s team of curators, architectural historians, and restorers.
When it reopens on April 5 all will be revealed, from the salon’s origins at the Hôtel de La Trémoille in Paris during the reign of Louis XVI to its installation as a ballroom in a California home, to its eventual arrival at the Legion of Honor in 1959, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Rheem. The elaborate renovation, including the preservation of the boiserie originally installed in 1781, is amply documented on the Legion of Honor’s website. What is equally impressive is the ultimate goal of the project–to allow visitors of the twenty-first century to get both a visceral and intellectual sense of how social life was conducted in an aristocratic environment during the eighteenth century. A salon de compagnie was designed to receive guests and invite conversation; it was meant for music and games and its elaborate rituals are embedded in everything from the arrangement of chairs to the quality of the lighting. Said to be one of the four finest French period rooms in an American museum, the Salon Doré will be distinguished by having all the appropriate furnishings as well as lighting that creates the impression and atmosphere of candlelight.
Salon Doré reopens April 5 • legionofhonor.famsf.org