In 1915 when the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) opened, it was a time of turmoil for the world and for the City of San Francisco. The City was just recovering from the terrible earthquake and fire of 1906. The nations of Europe were engaged in economic and political troubles that would lead to the start of World War I. The civic leaders of San Francisco envisioned a bold plan to bring the world together to encourage trade and to show the future of the world as it could be, and to demonstrate that a rebuilt San Francisco would be truly an international city.
Bernard R. Maybeck was chosen as architect for the Palace of Fine Arts. A student of the École des Beaux-Arts, his design reflects the impression of a Roman ruin. The inspiration for the Palace, with its soaring colonnade, grand rotunda, and carefully constructed pond, was meant to evoke quiet sadness and solemnity. This is most evident as one observes the “weeping ladies” facing into the tops of the columns throughout the park. While visiting a museum in Munich, Maybeck was struck by the Hungarian artist István Csók’s depiction of a scene where the notorious Polish princess Elizabeth Bathory is seen throwing freezing water on her naked servants.
Maybeck was also influenced by Arnold Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead. This popular work depicts a small island with towering rocks surrounded by water, with trees at the core of the island, and a boatman with mysterious passenger approaching a dark inlet. Maybeck
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The facility is well equipped with a high quality Meyer Sound system and has a standard house lighting plot that includes an inventory of moving lights. The stage floor is ideal for dance, with a sprung floor surface.
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