The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento combines the old with the new to create a spectacular display of some of California’s best fine art. The original building, built in 1872, belonged to the Crocker family who commissioned a local architect named Seth Babson to construct the Italianate mansion. Since its inception it contained an expansive private art collection. It was donated to the city of Sacramento in 1885 by Margaret E. Crocker and has served as the center of fine art in the city ever since.
The museum is divided into two main sections. The original Crocker mansion houses a large collection of 19th century furniture, exquisite European paintings, and beautifully detailed decor.
The modern wing of the museum contains more contemporary art along with rotating exhibits. We were fortunate to see the Hi-Fructose exhibit which celebrates the first ten years of the artists in the Hi-Fructose magazine.
Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani described her visit to the (then private) Crocker Mansion in her book “Hawaii’s Story“. She describes “a most elegant mansion”, how the art gallery made a lasting impression on her at the time, and how “the least detail of her grand and beautiful residence was nothing less than perfection.” She was pleased to learn that shortly after her visit the entire gallery was donated to the city for future generations to appreciate.
Naturally being a few blocks away form the state capitol building encourages some provocative and politically charged art work to emerge. Some of my favorite pieces in the museum were related to California politics.
The Crocker at museum is a real treasure for the city of Sacramento and is a lasting testimony to love and appreciation that the Crocker family had for fine arts.