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The coffered ceiling in this room was commissioned during the construction of the museum in in the early 1930s. Created by artist Martin Syvertsen and his assistant, Karl Schabell, it evokes the same Spanish style as the Museum's original building.

A single wooden mold was used to cast the one hundred and eight ornate squares in plaster. The delicate rosettes in the center of each square were cast separately. Running along the upper walls are thirty-four carved and painted panels that Syvertsen created at the same time. Panels close to the balcony feature portraits of the first foreign explorer of the California coast, Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, and another early California explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza.

The artist, Martin Syvertsen, was a native of Norway who came to San Francisco in the early 1900s. He was said to have earned more than a million dollars from art he created for churches, mausoleums, theaters and personal portraits. In addition to this ceiling, he also made the ceiling in our Flour Gallery upstairs.

Step13-Historic Ceilings of Bowers Museum


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