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Best Impressionist Art In San Francisco

You will find tranquil impressionist art in many venues around San Francisco, from museums and galleries to Facebook and an auction website. If you love the water, Impressionists paint boats on the Seine or in Sausalito and moored where France meets Italy in the Mediterranean, the Grand Canal of Venice or the Golden Gate Bridge. Impressionists also celebrate the human form from ballerinas to mothers and children to townsfolk. The genre extends not only to geography or artist and figures, but also to architecture and abstracts, all with a gentle touch to evoke the feeling or experience rather than capturing technical details.

Hours: Tues-Sun: 9:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.; Monday: Closed
Price: Free first Tuesday of the month; Adults: $10; Students or youth 13-17 yrs.: $6; Seniors: $7; Children under 12: Free
Includes admission to the deYoung Museum, same day; Exhibit prices may be extra

The Legion of Honor stands on a glorious hilltop with its own café, patio and picnic tables overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The building is a work of art in itself and will be exhibiting "Masters of Venice: Renaissance Painters of Passion and Power" this year.  The Legion maintains a permanent exhibit, Gallery 19, including some impressionist paintings that can be seen online. Gallery 19 includes a host of historic European names along with "The Absinthe Drinkers" by Jean Francois Raffalli from 1881. The painting is a warning of the dangers of the green fairy, absinthe.

Monet's "Water Lillies" in vibrant, cool and refreshing pastel blues just returned to this permanent collection. Other colorful water-inspired Monets on permanent view include "Sailboats on the Seine," "The Grand Canal of Venice," "Waves Breaking" and a black chalk work, also marine-inspired: "The Coast of Normandy Viewed from Sainte-Adresse." Visitors may also view Renoir's "Mother and Child" and Van Gogh's "Shelter on Montmartre" along with Cezanne's "Forest Interior."

Hours: Tues-Sun: 9:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.; Fri (Mid-January-November only): 9:30 a.m. – 8:45 p.m.; Monday: Closed
Price: Free first Tuesday of the month; Adults: $10; Students or youth 13-17 yrs.: $6; Seniors: $7; Children under 12: Free
Includes admission to the the Legion of Honor, same day Exhibits may cost extra

deYoung Museum
(credit: DeYoung Museum)

The DeYoung Museum in the spectacular setting of Golden Gate Park recently hosted a post-impressionist exhibit and also maintains a permanent collection. The DeYoung offers a garden cafe plus a spectacular tower with an elevator one may ride for free to the observation deck. If you would like to search for your own impressionist to meet face to face, San Francisco artists hold a huge open studios event in October, with over 900 artists in every nook and cranny of the City.

Across the Golden Gate Bridge, galleries in Sausalito offer impressionist art and studios hold open houses in May and December.   Find more galleries on the waterfront, recommended by Richard the marketing and promotions director at Sausalito Art Galleries.

Related: Best local art exhibitions in San Francisco. 

Hours: Mon-Sun: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

(credit: Hanson Art Gallery)

Hansons' Art Gallery on the waterfront in Sausalito sells a range of impressionist work including the Golden Gate Bridge paintings by Thomas Easley. Gail Weissman of the gallery says Easley paints in an imposto style, quickly with a palette knife leaving thick paint that sits on the surface.  Other artists featured here include Adair Payne, whose work goes for about $13,000 and is also posted on Facebook.  Joseph Kote, who painted a Sausalito row boat scene called "Looking for a Way to Escape" is also featured at Hansons. Kote's work goes for around $9,000 for a good size painting.

Related: Bay Area's best art walks. 

(credit: Galerie Elektra)

Elektra who is of Italian/Greek origin, has owned Galerie Elektra in Sausalito for the last thirteen years.  She says she only displays original works of art and her most celebrated artist is Francesco Pelleschi, who paints impressionistic landscapes of the wine country. Elektra notes Pelleschi for his original method which produces a particular texture.  She calls him a soil artist who makes his own color and grinds his own pigment. His work sells from $5,000 to $15,000.

Hours: Wed-Sun: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Open late Fridays until 9 p.m.
Price: Adults: $10; Students, seniors, disabled, young adults: $7; After 5 p.m. Friday: $7

The BAM/PFA permanent collection has a number of important Impressionist era paintings, such as Paul Gauguin's "Still Life with Quimper Pitcher" and "Head of Brittany Peasant," but not currently on display. BAMPFA, on the campus of UC Berkeley, also has shown the Berkeley series of abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn, some of which are at this website, Diebenkornblog.

Related: Best art museums in San Francisco.

Cindy Warner is a San Francisco Bay Area native. Cindy has covered SF theater and opera for via her bicycle since January 2009. Check out her work on

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