Department Overview


Clyfford Still, Untitled, 1951-1952; painting; oil on canvas; Collection SFMOMA, Gift of the artist; © The Clyfford Still Estate

Department of Painting and Sculpture

SFMOMA's painting and sculpture collection includes major works by artists associated with American Abstract Expressionism, notably Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, and Richard Diebenkorn. The collection also has strong holdings in German Expressionism, Fauvism (particularly the work of Henri Matisse), Mexican painting, and the art of the San Francisco Bay Area. Additionally, the museum is renowned for its collection of Southern California art, a very active contemporary art acquisitions program, and for the gifts and promised gifts of works by Paul Klee from Dr. Carl Djerassi and the Djerassi Art Trust. John Caldwell served as the museum's first curator of painting and sculpture from 1988 to 1993. Caldwell was succeeded by Gary Garrels who served as Elise S. Haas chief curator and curator of painting and sculpture from 1993 to 2000. Janet Bishop was appointed Andrew W. Mellon Foundation associate curator of painting and sculpture in 1992 and in 2000 was promoted to the position of curator of painting and sculpture. Madeleine Grynsztejn was appointed Elise S. Haas senior curator of painting and sculpture in 2000 and in 2008 departed to become director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Gary Garrels returned to SFMOMA as Elise S. Haas senior curator of painting and sculpture in 2008.