TREASURES

Treasures (see excerpt, below) is an investigation into the history of the sculpture of the world's fair that remained on the island after the close of the fair in 1940.   For more information about the history of Treasure Island, see the Treasure Island Museum Association's web site.

It includes original research about the artists and the sculptures, their locations and purposes at the fair, and why they remained when everything else was destroyed or moved away. It also investigates the disposition of these pieces by the United States Navy and efforts to restore and display them on the island. The book contains many never-before published black and white photographs. It was written in 1991, with an afterward written in 2008.

For a complete copy of Treasures, please contact Anne Schnoebelen at research@treasureislandmuseum.org.


Cover photo: the Court of Pacifica, 1939 (Gabriel Moulin)


TREASURES

SPLENDID SURVIVORS
OF THE GOLDEN GATE
INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION

Anne Schnoebelen

 

INTRODUCTION 

A

boy rides down a South American river on the back of an alligator; two girls relax on the beach of a South Pacific island; a boy from Alaska, crouching on an ice floe, carefully aims his harpoon at a fish just below the surface; a man from India meditates as he reclines on a branch of the Tree of Life. Altogether, sixteen massive sculptures, representing a community of Pacific peoples, are arranged around a handcrafted ceramic fountain., glazed in brilliant shades of blue, green, and yellow, the size of a suburban swimming pool. Reaching from rim to rim of the fountain is an enormous relief map of the Pacific Basin. The Hawaiian Islands, at the center, thrust up from the ocean's cobalt blue floor; scattered below them are the islands of the Pacific, and encircling the rim of the basin are the continents of North and South America, Asia, and Australia. Just south of Hawaii, four blue whales spout water high into the air.

From 1941 until 1988, the Pacific Unity sculptures and the Pacific Basin Fountain were displayed together in a landscaped garden on Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The gar­den was a setting for pic­nics and parties on the base, and was a popular place forofficial Navy pho­tographs. But in 1938 and 1939, when Treasure Is­land was a magical island city of towers, pyramids and temples, they were seen by millions of people who came to share in Treasure Island's spectacular celebration of the peoples and cultures of the Pacific.

Treasures is the story of those works of art, and of the place and the occasion for which they were created – Treasure Island and the Golden Gate International Exposition.

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