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A grand staircase is a feature of many beaux arts buildings, and the 1916 library building that now
houses the Asian Art Museum is no exception. The staircase leads from the admissions area to the large
hall on the second floor that is used for performances and programs of various sorts. The loggia surrounding
the staircase on the second floor is devoted to cross-cultural displays, which are located in the wells where
a series of landscape paintings by Gottardo Piazzoni used to reside. They were removed to open
up sight lines and allow light to enter. Architect Gae Aulenti's V-shaped skylight can be seen
through the openings. The Piazzonis are now at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

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Disclaimer: I work for the Asian, but this site reflects only my own opinions, not those of the institution.
Text and photos ©
Thomas Christensen, 2005, 2006