Modern Art SF Style

San Francisco’s Modern Art Museum was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art. A native San Franciscan, who is forever tied to the early recognition of what we call “modern art,” would also find her way into the language of the 1960s.

Alice B. Toklas was born in The City in 1877. She traveled to Paris in 1907 and became the partner of modern art promoter and writer Gertrude Stein. Stein wrote her best-selling memoirs in 1933 and playfully titled it, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Known for creating artists’ gatherings called “salons” in Paris, hosting writers such as Ernest Hemingway and avant-garde painters such as Picasso, Stein was the more prominent of the two until her death in 1946.

Toklas published her own memoir cook book in 1954 with the title, The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. The book’s most famous recipe is “Hashish Fudge,” containing fruits, nuts and a unique spice, cannabis or marijuana. Some have speculated that the term “to toke,” meaning to smoke marijuana, was a play on her name. “Toklas Brownies” have been mentioned in countless books, television shows and movies, including the 1968 Peter Sellers movie, “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas.”
The memoir cook book is still in print, with the latest edition published in 2010. Toklas died March 7, 1967 and is buried next to Stein in Paris.

And San Francisco’s Modern Art Museum is expanding. Founded in 1935, for 60 years the museum was located on the fourth floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building at Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street, across from City Hall. In 1995, the museum moved to Third Street, between Mission and Howard Streets. Plans for expansion are underway: Here is information about current exhibits and what you need to know to plan a visit:

Best wishes,