3778 Washington Street (photographed in 1953)
Built between 1950 and ’51, the dramatic home at 3778 Washington Street is one of San Francisco’s most magnificent architectural treasures.
The Bauhaus-style home was designed by acclaimed architect Erich Mendelsohn for Madeleine Haas and Leon B. Russell. Although Mendelsohn lived in San Francisco from 1941 until his death in 1953, this was the only San Francisco residence he designed.
Mrs. Russell was said to have “scandalized” neighbors in 1949 when she razed the stately brick palazzo that had previously stood at the site. The old mansion had been built by her grandfather on her mother’s side, Jacob Stern, and was her family home as a child, until the early death of her father (leaving young Madeleine an orphan at age 12.)
Madeleine Haas Russell, as the great grandniece of Levi Strauss, was an heiress to the Haas family fortune, and became one of San Francisco’s most important philanthropists and cultural leaders.
Mrs. Russell became an official hostess for the U.S. State Department, and opened her home to many international leaders over the years, including Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and the king and queen of Afghanistan.
It was while entertaining visitors from India in November 1965 that the home made front page headlines as a crime scene. One evening while Mrs. Russell’s guests and daughter were sound asleep, two gunmen broke into the home and robbed her of $100,000 jewels at gunpoint, leaving her tied up in the bedroom. No one was harmed. (The theft was part of a minor crime spree in Pacific Heights at the time — just a week earlier, Albert Schlesinger and wife Irma, parents of socialite Nan Kempner, had been robbed of $126,000 in jewels.)
But had the thieves an eye for art, they could have left the house with much more. Hanging on the walls of this mid-century masterpiece were art works of worth 100 mansions.
Until her death in 1999, one of the great pieces of modern art, Pablo Picasso’s “Nu au fauteuil noir,” (which the artist painted in March, 9, 1932 of his mistress Marie-Therčse Walter) hung in the Presidio Heights home. It was sold at auction in 1999 for $45,102,500. It was purchased by Les Wexner, founder of Limited Brands, who then donated it to the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.
Ten other major works of art, including “Nu couche I (Aurore)” by Henri Matisse, and “Le Gueridon Rogue” by Georges Braque, were sold at the same auction, bringing the total to $71.4 million.
The home remains in the Russell family.
A selection of items from Diana Vreeland’s wardrobe will be auctioned by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London on June 25th, 2013.
Notable pieces include an Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture ensemble, with Lesage embroidery, designed specifically for Mrs. Vreeland by Saint Laurent himself in 1986. There’s also a wonderful Yves Saint Laurent velvet evening jacket, designed in 1981 (shown above), and a Mainbocher coat.
The 2013 showing of artMRKT in San Francisco opened to a staggering 6,000 guests in May, and had to turn away 500, raising approximately $30,000 for artMRKT beneficiary, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s New Acquisition Fund.
Following the presentation of the 2013 ArtCare Award for Excellence in Civic Arts Patronage awarded to Mrs. Diane B. Wilsey, on behalf of the San Francisco Arts Commission and San Francisco Art Dealers Association, the Opening Night Preview Benefit provided guests with first access to the artwork, elegant catering (including specialty cocktails courtesy of Diageo), as well as a fantastic performance by the SF Jazz High School All-Stars Combo.
Among numerous Opening Night sales, Brian Gross Fine Art sold a major Robert Arneson self-portrait bronze for $200,000, and Alex Meyerovich Gallery reported the sale of a David Hockney lithograph for $65,000.
For more information, visit www.art-mrkt.com/sf
Just last year we spotted Cate Blanchett in various locations around San Francisco during the filming of a new Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine, and the trailer for it has just been released!
Jesse Draper has signed with 44 Blue Productions to take her online talk show, â€śThe Valley Girl Show,â€ť to television this fall and is developing a new business reality TV series called â€śWhat Women (Really) Want.â€ť She recently shared her favorite Bay Area haunts with C Magazine’s Alyssa Fung.
In celebration of the U.S. premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, SF Ballet hosted a fundraising dinner on May 3, 2013, in a gorgeous tented pavilion masterfully designed by Riccardo Benavides in the Memorial Court between the War Memorial Opera House and the Veterans Building.
Inspired by the theme of the evening, many dressed in the most fanciful fairy tale gowns, while others went for a more modern look. Everyone looked absolutely lovely (not a wicked stepmother in sight!)
Here, with photos courtesy of Drew Altizer, we present our selection of the 25 most chic looks of the evening.
Rain Phoenix and Topaz Page Green recently hosted Unite SF Design at The Conservatory of Flowers.
The philanthropic runway show fused design, ingenuity, technology and philanthropy to raise awareness and funds to help feed children in the poorest areas abroad. The event proceeds will go to support The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit agency founded by Topaz Page Green, Joaquin Phoenix and Balthazar Getty, dedicated to providing a daily meal to thousands of children.
Inspired by the Asian Art Museum’s spring exhibition, China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy, the museumâ€™s Council recently presented “Once Upon a Time in Xi’an,” a lively evening event for families of all ages.
The event featured dancers, costumed performers, unique arts and crafts, and a sumptuous buffet bringing the fascinating world of China’s First Emperor and his world renowned army of terracotta soldiers to life.
The event chairs Alexandra Caban and Patrice Wilbur, with an event committee that included Midori Antebi, Alice Chang, Lucy Dathan, Christine DeSanze, Stacey Dobos, Marjory Graue, Elyn Kim, Michael Kim, Caroline Low, Linda Lynch, Kira Robb, Mona Shah, Elizabeth Warner, and Salle Yoo, created an amazingly fun and education experience for more than 600 guests!
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music held its annual gala on Saturday, April 20, 2013, in honor of legendary baritone Thomas Hampson. “An Evening of Voice Honoring Thomas Hampson” featured performances by Hampson, who shared the stage with Conservatory student singers and faculty. The most important fundraising and outreach event of the year, the gala took in $300,000 for the Conservatory’s educational programs.
Gala co-chairs Teresa Medearis and Trustee Barbara Walkowski pronounced the evening a “resounding success in every way” for the 250 guests in attendance. And the event’s co-chairs were suitably decked in regal attire for the occasion: Walkowski in a silk chiffon Carolina Herrera gown in vibrant red, and Medearis donned in emerald green taffeta by Monique Lhuillier. Trustee Deepa Pakianathan displayed her signature style in a black and white dress by Rubin Singer, one of Beyonce’s favorite designers.
Catering for the event was provided by McCall’s, Catering and Events and decor by Blueprint Studios. Wells Fargo was the official corporate Patron, with corporate sponsorships provided by Asset Management Company, Bank of America and CM Capital Advisors.
Osso Steakhouse (1177 California Street at Jones), a new venture from Jerry and Jennifer Dal Bozzo in partnership with Dante Serafini, recently celebrated its grand opening.
The restaurant offers a diverse a la carte menu featuring the highest quality of 4-6 week dry-aged tender prime beef with bone-in (osso) steaks, along with specialty offerings like Hot Iron Skillet Dungeness Crab. Great pride is taken in the extensive wine list.
The Dal Bozzos and Serafini are the same group behind other San Francisco favorites like The Franciscan Crab Restaurant, The Stinking Rose, Calzone’s Pizza Cucina, and the recently revamped The Old Clam House.
Osso Steakhouse is open everyday for dinner only, from 5-10pm. Valet Parking available for $10. 1177 California Street at Jones. 415-771-6776.
It was a “Mod, Mod World” on May 7th and 8th, 2013, at the Presidio’s Golden Gate Club as the Edgewood Fair raised $300,000 for the Edgewood Center for Families and Children!
Edgewood is the leading provider of behavioral and mental health services for 7,000 children and families living in some of the most violence-ravaged and economically-depressed areas of the Bay Area each year.
The event was put together by event chairs Kelly Anderson and Lori Shigekane, sponsorship chairs Susanna Holt and Courtney Giraudo, party chairs Sarah Semple and Amanda Valentino, luncheon chairs Mary Graf and Emilie Lynch, and Edgewood Marketplace chairs Amanda Rickel and Dina Wong To.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) honor Nancy and Steven Oliver at its annual Gala on May 7, 2013.
The Olivers are best known for the Oliver Ranch, an extraordinary sculpture park in Sonoma County, where they have worked closely with some of country’s finest artists, such as Bruce Nauman, Ellen Driscoll, Richard Serra, and Martin Puryear, on site-specific installations.
Co-chaired by Carla Crane and Wanda Kownacki, this year’s event featured performances and productions by artist and songwriter Terry Allen; artist, writer, and actress Jo Harvey Allen; visual artist and choreographer Joe Goode; and the esteemed Pacific Mozart Ensemble. Artist Ann Hamilton, whose extraordinary tower provides an other-worldly setting for music and dance performances on the Oliver Ranch, was a special guest.
The evening culminated in a live auction by Christie’s, which includesd one-of-a-kind works by Diane Arbus, John Baldessari, Sophie Calle, Rudolf de Crignis, Andy Goldsworthy, Ray Johnson, Richard Misrach, and Lee Mullican. The art auction chair was Robert Harshorn Shimshak.
Proceeds from this year’s event will support BAM/PFA’s education programs.
On April 25th, 2013, guests joined Sir Peter Michael of the Peter Michael Winery, and his son Paul Michael for a 4-course dinner prepared by Curtis Di Fede and Tyler Rodde, co-chef-owners of Oenotri, Napa. Each course was paired with an exclusive Peter Michael wine.
Proceeds from the highly successful evening and live auction benefit prostate cancer research at Stanford Cancer Center.
The USO-themed event was held at the privately owned Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Portola Valley.