The history of the Museum goes back to the Panama-California International Exposition which was held in Balboa Park in 1915-1916 to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. One of the displays at the exposition was a collection of fine art from Europe and America plus some local California artists. The fine art was so popular it was decided San Diego needed a fine art gallery and collection.
The building designed by William Templeton Johnson who blended Spanish Colonial style with features borrowed from cathedrals, universities and hospitals in various regions of Spain.
The San Diego Museum of Art opened February 28 1926.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, some important pieces were moved to other museums for safe keeping. In 1943 it was requisitioned for military use with other facilities in Balboa Park. The United States Navy converted the Museum into a hospital until 1947.
Deborah Butterfield Aluminum Horse #5
Thomas Hart Benton After Many Days
Art of the 20th Century Exhibit
Italo Scanga Head 1988-92 Italian
Nelson Ramos Los Visitantes 1988 Uruguayan
Salvador Dali Specter of the Evening 1930 Spanish
Yves Tanguy Untitled 1935 French
Art of East Asia Exhibit
Buddhist Temple Icons
Dipper Mother 17th Century China
Eight Daoist Immortals 1900 China
Guanyin 12th Century Northern China
Han and Tang Dynasties
Pair of Rams 19th Century Korea
Shinto Shrine Fox and Spirit House with Kami Japan
Two Camels Early 8th Century China
Porcelain Vases China
Art of the Portrait European Art 1500-1850 Exhibit
Anton Raphael Mengs Portrait of Don Luis de Borbon Infante of Spain 1768 German
Sofonisba Anguissola Portrait of a Spanish Prince as Hunter 1573 Italian
European Art Genre & Myth 1550-1850 Exhibit
Osias Beert the Elder Still Life with tulips, irises, and lilies with a Chinese lacquer basket 1610-1620 Flemish
Peter Binoit Still life with grapes and peaches in a porcelain bowl, songbirds, and a mouse eating sweetmeats 1620 Flemish
Rachel Ruysch A Vase of Flowers 1689 Dutch
Art of Devotion European Art 1300-1800 Exhibit
German Expressionism Exhibit
Otto Dix The Lion Cannoneer 1914 German
Venetian Views Exhibit
Bernardo Bellotto The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco Venice 1740 Italian
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) The Grand Canal Venice 1741 Italian
An Indian Virgin Mary Exhibit
The Adoration of the Christ Child with Angels 1590’s or 1620’s Northern India
The Virgin and Child 1590-98 Northern India
Painting made at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605) influenced by European paintings he received as gifts from Jesuit missionaries in Goa India.