Art Focus Lecture Series 2015

Art Focus lectures offer members and non-members opportunities to expand their knowledge of art through lectures, by faculty, curators, art experts, and artists.

All lectures take place in the Cantor Arts Center auditorium from 4:15 to 6:15 pm. Pre-registration is highly recommended, drop-in attendance is offered on a first-come-first-served basis for $30 at any session if space is available on the day. Payment by check or cash only, accepted at the door.

This season offers the following topics

• Sculpture: Making Stone a Living Medium
• The Art of Photography: Understanding & Appreciating Great  Photographs - sold out
• They Lived in Great Houses
• 20 Years of Modern & Contemporary Collecting at the Cantor
• A Timely Lesson: Treasuring Antiques & Collectibles
• Sense and Sensibility: The Romantic Movement in England

The Pygmalion myth tells how a Greek sculptor wanted to create the woman of his dreams as a living sculpture, praying to the goddess of love who made it happen. Sculpture has been an artistic medium from the Paleolithic onward with depictions of carved animals as well as images like the Venus of Willendorf. Since that prehistory, the Ancient Egyptian idea of sculpture as "living image” can be seen in works from many cultures and eras.

• Prehistory to Mesopotamia
• Ancient Egypt to Hellenistic Greece and Rome
• Medieval to Renaissance, Baroque to Romanticism

Patrick Hunt, PhD, is an archaeologist, art historian, and biographer teaching at Stanford University for 22 years. He has published 14 books and articles including Rembrandt: His Life in Art; Myths for All Time: Selected Greek Stories Retold; Caravaggio; and Renaissance Visions: Myth and Art. He regularly appears on cultural television programs.

Thursdays, February 5, 12, and 19
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
4:15 – 6:16 pm
member: $75, non-member: $90
Registration Form

Since its inception, photography has played an important role in society, yet it took most of the last century for it to acquire equal status amongst traditional media in the art world. Photographs drawn from the history and range of the medium illustrate the evolution of photography as a fine art. Celebrated works by masters will be juxtaposed with vernacular images to discuss the creative decisions that a photographer works through when making (rather than taking) photographs. Iconic pictures of the past 150 years by Cameron, Stieglitz, Weston, Cartier-Bresson, Evans, Adams, Weston, Cunningham, Arbus, and Frank will be used to discuss how to view and understand photographs.


Ron Herman is an award-winning educator and professor of Photography at Foothill College where he has been teaching since 1997. His photographs are included in such collections as the Fototeca de Cuba, Kinsey Institute, and the Snite Museum of Art; he has also done work for Polo Ralph Lauren and Spiegel. He received his MFA from the University of Notre Dame and has lectured at Cornell, Stanford, and Yale Universities.

Thursday, February 26
4:15 – 6:15 pm
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
member: $25, non-member: $30

Prominent families of the San Francisco Peninsula created extraordinary estates during the 1860s and after. Structural and horticultural architects of distinction designed marvelous houses and palatial stables surrounded by showy gardens and sprawling manmade forests. Meet the creative minds responsible for it all – Faxon D. Atherton, Milton Latham, Alvinza Hayward, John Parrott, James C. Flood, Leland Stanford, William H. Crocker, William Bourn, James D. Phelan, Frank and Harriet Pullman Carolan.

• Pioneering a sanctuary of privilege
• Quintessence of social elegance—Filoli, Uplands and Carolands

Michael Svanevik is professor emeritus in American History at the College of San Mateo. He is the co-author of a dozen books dealing with the social history of the San Francisco Peninsula, including No Sidewalks Here – A Pictorial History of Hillsborough, Beyond the Gate – A history of Menlo Park, and Burlingame – City of Trees. His historical features appear in Gentry magazine and have been a regular part of San Francisco and Peninsula newspapers for three decades.

Wednesdays, March 4 and 11
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
4:15 – 6:15 pm
member: $50, non-member: $60
Registration Form

Museum curators collaborate with their directors, other staff, donors, and art dealers to pursue a collection development plan to enhance their institutions. Even with extensive planning, factors such as the art market and chance play a crucial role in making acquisitions. This lecture will look back on 20+ years of collecting modern and contemporary art at the Cantor Arts Center and consider the many fascinating ways that works entered the collection.

Hilarie Faberman, PhD, was the Robert M. and Ruth L. Halperin Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Cantor Arts Center until her retirement in 2014 after some 21 years at the museum. Before coming to Stanford in 1993, Dr. Faberman was the curator of western art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and assistant professor in the History of Art Department. Exhibitions she curated at the Cantor include Splendid Grief: Darren Waterston and the Afterlife of Leland Stanford Jr.; Fired at Davis: Figurative Ceramic Sculpture by Robert Arneson, Visiting Professors, and Students at the University of California at Davis; and Picasso to Thiebaud: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collections of Stanford University Alumni and Friends.

Wednesday, March 18
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
4:15 – 6:15 pm
members: $25, non-members: $30
Registration Form

In order to fully appreciate your treasures, whether inherited or found at a flea market, it is important to understand some basic principles. We’ll take a look at the six factors that determine the value of your possessions, discuss current market conditions, and talk about dispersing a lifetime of memories.

Steven Wayne Yvaska graduated Cum Laude with his B.A. and M.S. from Syracuse University where he studied with decorative arts experts including Dr. Charles Ryder Dibble, and Sally Buchanan Kinsey. The Boston native may be best known for his long-running column “The Seasoned Collector” which runs in the San Jose Mercury News and other Bay Area newspapers. A collector since he was nine, he is a frequent speaker at historical societies, museums, antiques clubs, libraries and at benefit events. Yvaska also presents an ongoing series of workshops for adult students.

Wednesday, March 25
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
4:15 – 6:15 pm
member: $25, non-member: $30
Registration Form


Seeking the sublime and beautiful, this course enters the world of 18th and 19th century England during a time of complex cultural and social change. Painting, architecture, country houses (Stourhead, Blenheim), picturesque gardens, and literature are explored as integral forms expressing the romantic ideal.

Passion for Nature
The sensations of Constable, Turner, and the romantic poets

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Sentiment and the romantic dream of the Middle Ages

The Victorians
Material culture and the cult of beauty

Denise Erickson is a professor of Art History at Canada College and a celebrated local lecturer.

Thursdays, April 2, 9, and 16
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium
4:15 – 6:15 pm
member: $75, non-member: $90
Registration Form

Studio Classes for Stanford Students