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Fan Favorites

Ever thought fans were a just a fashion choice? Think again! Learn why the de Young Museum and its exhibit exploring 18th-century fans should be on the radar during your next San Francisco visit. You may even learn a "secret language" along the way.

There was no place better to see the height of hand-held decorative fans than in 18-century Europe. These luxurious accessories were used not only as a fashion statement, but also as a utility in communication and the expression of themes like biblical and mythological tales and romanticized domestic and pastoral vignettes.

Luxury Parisian fan-maker Duvelleroy even has a leaflet dedicated to describing what certain fan movements mean. From "I would like to talk to you" to "I love you," this secret language has many phrases and is still used today by fan enthusiasts all over the world.

The Fans of the Eighteenth Century exhibit at the de Young Museum explores this quintessential period of fan production through a selection of examples from the permanent collection.

Groups could take in this exhibit along with other local must-see art destinations:

See de Young Museum to learn more about the exhibit—running until April 28, 2019—and to book your group's next visit.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.

Photo courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Photo Caption: "Country Dance" fan, ca. 1760, Germany. Leaf of paper with opaque watercolor and gold paint; sticks and guards of carved and incised mother-of-pearl with applied silver and gilt silver foil; iron rivet. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mrs. Reginald Rives 1978.10.3"

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