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Timken Museum of Art

View a priceless collection of masterpieces from Europe, the U.S. and Russia in this gorgeous community museum, known as San Diego’s jewel box of art.

Experience exquisite masterpieces at their best at the Timken Museum of Art, one of San Diego’s most beloved landmarks. Enjoy gallery spaces flooded with natural light and tasteful architectural forms in this museum with a small but priceless collection of paintings.

The Timken Museum of Art was opened in 1965 on Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, the site of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Funded by the Timken family and filled with the collection of the art-loving Putnam sisters, the building is an artwork in itself.

Admire the contemporary museum façade, which is widely regarded as one of San Diego’s finest modernist exteriors. Note combinations of marble, glass and bronze detailing that reflect off a lily pond with delightful visual effect. Within, warm gallery rooms are naturally illuminated through skylights to achieve maximum brightness without direct sunlight on the artworks.

The museum’s collection consists of more than 60 works spanning 600 years of European, U.S. and Russian art. Admire striking pre-renaissance religious scenes and a striking 17th-century Italian still life. Appreciate the serene calm of 18th-century Albert Bierstadt’s American landscape and the flurried brushwork of Thomas Birch’s An American Ship in Distress. 

Inspect the brooding palette of Saint Bartholomew, the only Rembrandt painting that is permanently held in San Diego. Other notable works include a gorgeous afternoon landscape of Eastman Johnson’s The Cranberry Harvest and the ornate 17th-century Parisian tapestries that hang in the museum’s foyer. Be sure to see the museum’s treasured collection of Russian works which date back as early as the 15th century.

Take a tour of the museum guided by a docent to learn about the intimate details of each work and their painters. Tours are led daily.

The Timken Museum of Art is located in Balboa Park in central San Diego among a number of other museums and natural attractions. The museum is open daily except Mondays and is free to enter.


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