San Francisco has long been on the cutting edge of the Ameri-
can art scene, and the city's downtown galleries provide a rich
look at the depth of SF's artistic offerings, including works by mas-
ters of the past century, edgy contemporary pieces, and superb photo-
graphic prints. Most galleries carry the “San Francisco Bay Area Gallery
Guide,” which lists current exhibits. Note: Most galleries open
around 10am (noon on weekends) and close around 5:30pm, but on
the first Thursday of each month, galleries stay open later and many
serve wine and cheese. Best Tuesday through Friday—downtown
bustles and all the galleries are open. @ 2 to 4 hours. START: Bus 16,
17, 49; F Streetcar; BART/Muni: Powell St.
1 ★★★ 49 Geary. This nonde-
script building houses several of SF's
galleries, covering an array of gen-
res. My personal favorites are the
Fraenkel Gallery ( y 415/981-
2661; closed Sun-Mon) and the
Stephen Wirtz Gallery ( y 415/
433-6897; closed Sun-Mon). Both
houses feature contemporary works
and splendid photography exhibits.
The Catharine Clark Gallery
( y 415/399-1439; closed Sun-Mon)
offers a layaway plan that puts art
within most everyone's reach, but
her keen eye for talent draws even
serious collectors. 49 Geary St.
(between Grant Ave. & Kearny St.).
Bus 16, 17, 49; F Streetcar, Muni:
2 ★ Meyerovich Gallery. You'll
find paintings, sculpture, and works
on paper by masters like Chagall,
Matisse, Miró, and Picasso. Meyer-
ovich's Contemporary Gallery holds
works by Lichtenstein, Motherwell,
Dine, and Hockney. 251 Post St., 4th
Floor (between Grant & Stockton
sts.). y 415/421-7171. Closed Sun.
3 ★ John Berggruen. This gallery
specializes in 20th-century works
from artists such as Diebenkorn,
Calder, Matisse, Ruscha, and O'Keeffe.
228 Grant Ave. (between Post & Sutter
sts.). y 415/781-4629. Closed Sun.
4 Café de la Presse. Sip an
espresso at this bustling cafe, deco-
rated with movie posters and racks
of newspapers . 352 Grant Ave. (at
Bush St.). y 415/398-2680. $.
5 Caldwell Snyder Gallery.
Works from cutting-edge American,
European, and Latin American
artists are exhibited in a striking,
9,000-square-foot space. 341 Sutter
St. (between Grant Ave. & Stockton
St.). y 415/296-7896. Closed Sun.
6 ★★ Hang Gallery. Hang fea-
tures arresting pieces by yet-to-be-
discovered artists at excellent
prices. Check out the Hang Annex
across the street, too. 556 & 557
Sutter St. (between Powell & Mason
sts.). y 415/434-4264. Open daily.
Explore the avant-garde collection at the Hang Gallery.