San Francisco Civic Center
San Francisco’s City Hall has an art collection of its own within its walls. This is about the art work that graces the building. City Hall was the cornerstone to the City Beautiful Movement in San Francisco.
On City Hall there are two tympanums each holding a sculpture by Henri Crenier. A tympanum is the triangular space enclosed by a pediment or arch.
The tympanum that faces the War Memorial Building on Van Ness features a figure representing Wisdom. Wisdom stands between the figures of Arts, Learning and Truth on the left and Industry and Labor on the right.
The figures in the tympanum that faces the Civic Center represent California’s agriculture and riches (on the left) and navigational skills (right). They also symbolize San Francisco’s role in the link between the riches of California and the mercantile needs of the rest of the world.
Henri Crenier (1873–1948) was an American sculptor born in France.
Crenier was born in Paris, studied at the École des Beaux-Arts with Alexandre Falguière, worked in Asnières-sur-Seine, and exhibited at the Paris Salon. In 1902 he emigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen in 1911, and became active in New York City, serving as master sculptor in the atelier of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
His solo work includes the James Fennimore Cooper Memorial in Scarsdale, New York, as well as his single largest commission, the two pediment sculptures in granite for the 1915 San Francisco City Hall. He also contributed to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915) and designed the freestanding figure of Achievement that stands at theNemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.