It can easily be stated that one of the most beautiful rooms in all of France is actually located in… San Francisco.
I’m referring, of course, to the Salon Doré from the Hôtel de La Trémoille, which was installed in the Legion of Honor in 1962, and has recently been re-opened at the Museum following an intense 17-month restoration.
Created in 1781 as the formal reception room of the Hôtel de La Trémoille on the rue Saint-Dominique in Paris (the palace of Jean-Bretagne-Godefroy, duc de la Trémoille and his wife, Marie-Maximilienne de Salm-Kirbourg, who were both very close to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette,) it is recognized as one of the finest examples of French neoclassical interior design in the world.
According to Colin B. Bailey, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Salon Doré is “the only pre-Revolutionary Parisian salon in the United States displayed with its full complement of furnishings.”
To unveil the work, the Museum recently hosted a dinner in the room to honor donors for the renovation. Guests included Cynthia Fry Gunn and John Gunn, who are the Major Patrons for the project, in memory of John E. Buchanan, Jr., Town & Country editor Jay Fielden, Denise Hale, Dagmar Dolby, Andrew and Francoise Skurman, Maria Santangelo, among others.
Patron support for the renovation was given by Jamie and Philip Bowles, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Staffan Encrantz, The European Decorative Arts Council, The Fifth Age of Man Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Goss II, F. Scott Gross and Terry S. Gross, Mr. and Mrs. William Hamilton, Françoise and Andrew Skurman, Mr. Benjamin Steinitz (in memory of Bernard B. Steinitz), The Michael Taylor Trust, and Diane B. Wilsey. Most of them were at the unveiling.
There were additional donations given in memory of John E. Buchanan, Jr., from Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Andrews Jr., The Kimball Foundation, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Osher, Constance Crowley Peabody, and Lonna Wais. And luxury watch manufacturer Breguet is a corporate sponsor for the project.
Interestingly, the family of Marie-Maximilienne de Salm-Kirbourg, for whom the room was originally created, lived in the Hôtel de Salm (now the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur), which was actually the model for the Legion of Honor museum! An extraordinary coincidence — but the room has an extraordinary history. You can read much more about it, with gorgeous photos of the room’s details, at Diane Dorrans Saek’s “The Style Saloniste.”
But certainly the greatest delight is to stand in the room itself!
Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco, (415) 750.3600, legionofhonor.famsf.org