European Decorative Arts and Sculpture encompasses part of the founding collections of the Legion of Honor. At the core is a series of masterworks by Auguste Rodin formed by Legion founder Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, the most famous of which, The Thinker, has become the emblem of the museum.
Ranging from medieval times to the early 20th-century, the collection includes such highlights as a Spanish ceiling dating from about 1500, a 1560s marble bust of Cosimo de’ Medici by Cellini, a 1600 hard-stone panel from the grand-ducal workshops of Florence, Giambologna’s sculpture Astronomy, and significant pieces by Clodion, Houdon, Carpeaux, and Dalou.
18th-century French furniture and decorative arts are one of the strengths of the collection with a canapé made for Queen Marie Antoinette, the Coventry secretaire of 1763 made by B.V.R B, and three period rooms, including the recently renovated Salon Doré from the Hôtel de La Trémoille. Among the collection’s porcelain masterworks are a magnificent Meissen vase representing early production from the factory of Augustus the Strong; a rare Nymphenburg crucifixion group modeled by Franz Anton Bustelli, and the extensive Bowles collection, showcasing the history of English porcelain. Among 20th-century standouts are a tea table and silver tea service by Fabergé, given by a member of the Russian imperial family and one of the Legion’s earliest acquisitions.