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San Francisco Art Institute at Sea! Aquatic Park, Shaw, Hardy, Pirkle, Coulter, SERC


April 1, 2022

From the SFAI Library & Archives: SFAI at sea!











SFAI’s coastal setting has always generated an appreciation and love of nautical endeavors revealed not only in the art from the 19ththrough the 21st centuries as evidenced above by works of SFAI artists like Richard Shaw, Ed Hardy, William Coulter, and SFAI students living at Sausilito’s Gate 5, but also with SFAI Director Ernest “Commodore” Mundt’s maritime-loving administration of the early 1950s when their idea to resolve space problems was to commandeer a retired ferryboat, the S.S. Lauren Hartman, berth it in Aquatic Park, and set up seafaring studios. Unfortunately, the boat soon became home not only to artists but also to an infestation of rats, so bay swimmers and rowers at the South End Rowing Club, irritated by the presence of this monstrosity in their midst, ended the experiment in nautical education when they torched the vessel, and SFAI has remained landlocked ever since.


Image 1: The S.S. Lauren Hartman run aground at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park

Image 2: The S.S. Lauren Hartman, post-fire

Image 3: William Coulter, San Francisco Fire (1906)

Image 4: Ed Hardy, Sailing Ship, (c. 1956)

Image 5: Richard Shaw, Bride and Shipwreck (2003)

Image 6: Pirkle Jones,Madonna & Mt. Tam Gate 5(1970)



With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.