As you gaze upon Nancy Pratt’s
most recent work Reflections of San Francisco, the viewer is invited into a dreamy reflection of cultural history. She exudes a warm joyful response as your eyes are lead through the Civic Center gates that frame the picture. Cable cars and a giant Dahlia (the official flower of the City) border the bottom of this exquisite work of art.
Stretched across the top of the painting are images of the Golden Gate Bridge and the City skyline as viewed from Treasure Island. As your eye is drawn down across the canvas images of Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, Alcatraz, Old St. Mary’s Church, Temple Sherith Israel Synagogue, China Town Gateway and Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral you are seamlessly taken through all the sights. In the middle of the painting is Mission Dolores with Juan Bautista de Anza and the Ohlone Indians on the front steps as though they are engaged in dialogue.
A tender scene is captured as a romantic couple lounges in front of the ever enchanting Palace of Fine Arts. Other vignettes include: Count Rezanov from Russia with Concepcion Arguello — one of the earliest love stories of San Francisco, Californio Dancers, William Leidesdorff — an early African American who helped to build the City and create opportunities for other minority immigrants coming to the area. Also seen is Mammie Pleasant — one of San Francisco’s most picturesque and influential characters and Emperor Norton, self-proclaimed emperor of S.F. and protectorate of Mexico.
And then, as your eyes sweep down to the lower right corner of this impressive painting, we see Mayor Willie Brown standing on a Cable Car in Union Square with Herb Caen looking on. It appears that Mayor Brown is greeting us at the turn of the Millennium, inviting us to join with him on an exhilarating ride into the 21st Century.
Nancy’s creative use of watercolors and her choice of hues creates a mood of peace and tranquility, a vision that she holds for the gifts of the many who have helped to build one of the worlds most beloved cities.
Capturing history by honoring all the components of cultural diversity is Nancy’s gift and her passion. Too much has been lost in accurately documenting and communicating all the unique contributors who have helped to build our many incredible cities. As one studies ŒReflections of San Francisco’, there are many elements and cultures represented that may surprise some while honoring those who know the history from which they came. In reviewing the original sketch for the montage, Mayor Brown shared with Nancy the images he thought would be important to a picture of this magnitude. Nancy skillfully blended his recommendations into the final painting.
Rarely does an artist take so much time to research in order to create a work of art that poignantly captures the city’s unfolding history. As we move through this time of the Millennium and the Sesquicentennial of the California Gold Rush Era, Nancy’s artistic rendering of history is essential and lasting.
This is the first time that Nancy has created a historical Montage that also includes current history in the making. Nancy Pratt captures the essence of Mayor Willie Brown in the midst of the historical evolution of this magnificent city on the Bay. You see Mayor Brown, a living cultural icon of our time, standing among his forbearers representing a new era for the City of San Francisco. There is no doubt in the artist’s mind that Mayor Willie Brown is well on his way to establishing a memorable and powerful legacy for the growth and evolution of the City of San Francisco