Take an Intimate Look at SFMOMA

A peek into the museum's private tours

The newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), located in the heart of the Yerba Buena cultural district on 3rd Street, is one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art.

Designed by international architects Snøhetta, a new 10-story addition triples the museum’s gallery space, includes expansive art-filled free zones and enhances the dining and shopping options.

Among the many iconic works on view is the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, one of the world's greatest private collections of modern and contemporary art. The collection includes exceptional works by Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter and Agnes Martin. The museum’s permanent collection—housed in 170,000 square feet of exhibition space—includes over 33,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts on view in lofty, spacious galleries.

So where to start? We recommend a private tour.

Choose from one of six private guided tours, lasting one hour and led by an art historian.

Cross the Oculus Bridge under the sky dome in SFMOMA

The SFMOMA Highlights Tour combines an overview of the recently transformed museum with highlights of the museum’s collection. Explore must-see masterpieces such as Matisse’s “Femme au Chapeau” and Frieda Kahlo’s “Frieda and Diego.” Conquer the heights of the Oculus Bridge, breathe in the Living Wall’s 19,000 plants and admire the breathtaking beauty of the multiple outdoor terraces.

The tour of the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection guides visitors through one of the greatest private collections in the world given by the founders of the Gap. In dedicated galleries on three floors, the Fisher Collection offers “mini-museums” of the works of artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter, Agnes Martin, Andy Warhol and Chuck Close in gallery suites dedicated to American Abstraction, Pop Art, Minimalism and Figurative work and Post War German Artists.

 The Fisher Collection exhibition at SFMOMA

The Painting and Sculpture Collection Tour is an exploration of SFMOMA’s exceptional permanent collection of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the early 1900s to the present. Take a closer look at the foundations of the museum’s collection with works such as Marcel Duchamp’s conceptual “Fountain”—a ceramic urinal—Mark Rothko’s shimmering “No. 14,” and Jackson Pollack’s early work “Guardian of the Secret.” Learn out how SFMOMA earned its title as the first West Coast museum dedicated to modern art.

The Pritzker Center for Photography Tour, the largest space devoted to the medium at any art museum in the U.S., provides an overview of the museum’s photography collection. SFMOMA was one of the first museums to recognize and collect photography as an art form and their exceptional collection includes 17,000 work from the beginning of photography to work by currently practicing photographers. Be sure to stop in the Photography Interpretive Gallery and try some hands on experiences designed to teach visitors about the photographic process and history.

Helen and Charles Schwab Hall at SFMOMA

The SFMOMA Architecture Tour guides visitors through the Snøhetta-designed expansion of the new SFMOMA building—from inspiration to construction—and the challenges faced in designing what is now the largest museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art in the United States. See how San Francisco was incorporated into the design and learn insider tips about the making of this spectacular building.

The Special Exhibition Tour, Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, If “The Scream” is the only thing you know about this iconic artist, this is the tour for you.  Featuring 44 paintings from collections around the world, including seven never before seen in the US, this exhibition chronicles the career of one of the 20th century’s most iconic artists. Learn about Munch’s obsession with certain themes and subjects, his revolutionary painting style and how he painted his emotions into the works. Highlights of this tour include “The Dance of Life” (1925) and “Sick Mood at Sunset: Despair” (1892), a painting that paved the way for “The Scream.” Available through Oct. 9.

Private guided tours are available for groups of all sizes, and start at $35 per adult ($45 for the special exhibition), which includes admission. For full pricing and details, go to sfmoma.org/groups.

Pat and Bill Wilson Sculpture Terrace at SFMOMA