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A dazzling new home for the Triton Museum in Santa Clara.

A dazzling new home for the Triton Museum in Santa Clara

For the first time in 17 years, a Bay Area fine arts museum has a new building. The boom town of Santa Clara recently ended the cultural dry spell with a stunning new home for the Triton Art Museum. (The last was Berkeley's University Art Museum.) The new Triton is sure to impress patrons familiar with the rustic pavilions it used to occupy.

This month, with the opening of two special exhibitions and a one-day holiday celebration for families, is a good time to plan a visit.

From the outside, palm trees and pyramidal skylights give the rosy-hued $3 million building the look of an Egyptian temple reinterpreted through postmodern sights. Entering the foyer, you're greeted by a view, through a curved glass wall, of a sculpture garden and 7-acre park--with the old pavilions on the far side. Two spacious exhibition galleries open off one side, an education wing off the other.

In the past, the Triton has hosted touring exhibitions of the work of nationally known contemporary artists, and the new building will undoubtedly boost the caliber of future shows.

Turn-of-the-century American paintings, particularly renderings of Santa Clara Valley locales, form the backbone of the permanent collection. It includes works by Frank Duveneck, his pupil William Merritt Chase, and John Twachtman.

The Triton owns the largest public collection of the work of Theodore Wores, a San Francisco--born painter who served as dean of the San Francisco Art Institute from 1907 to 1913 and lived in the Santa Clara Valley from 1929 until his death 10 years later. His paintings of long-gone orchards and country lanes will be on display until December 5. An exhibit of Wores' work from his earlier years abroad in Europe and Asia opens on December 10 and runs through March 6.

Another exhibit opening this month (December 1 through January 10) is a series of drawings by Sigmund Abeles that unflinchingly documents his prematurely born son's successful struggle for survival. The artist will conduct a master drawing class on December 12; cost is $35 for the full day, $20 for half-day.

The museum also regularly schedules fine arts classes for children and adults. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks; the next session begins in mid-January.

A free holiday celebration from 1 to 4 on December 13 gives parents a chance to view the exhibits quietly while their children are entertained by puppet shows, storytelling, and a toy-making workshop.

The Triton is open 10 to 5 weekdays, noon to 5 weekends; admission is free. To get there from U.S. 101, take San Tomas Expressway south to Scott Boulevard; turn left, and then go 1 3/4 miles south on Scott to Warburton Avenue. Turn left; the museum, at 1505 Warburton, is across the street from the Santa Clara City Hall. For more information, call (408) 247-3754.

Photo: Postmodern arch and pyramid skylight accent stucco shapes of new museum, designed by San Francisco architects Barcelon Jang

Photo: Adjustable skylight sheds natural light on painted clay figures in opening exhibit of contemporary Asian-American art

Photo: Pastoral landscape with blossoming fruit trees offers glimpse of Santa Clara Valley before development
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1987
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