The McCarthy Collection
January 8-July 18, 2003
Patrick E. McCarthy was born on March 23, 1846 in Killarney, Ireland. When he was three, his parents immigrated to Canada, where he served as a quartermaster’s clerk in the U.S. Army in Kansas. He arrived in San Francisco in 1868 when the Gold Rush fever had begun to settle down. McCarthy began publishing The Standard and The Pathfinder, and worked on the staff of the Chronicle in the 1880s. He created promotional materials for various hotels and theatres, as well as Woodward’s Gardens. McCarthy died in his Waller Street home at the age of 74.
McCarthy’s artistic mission was to acquire paintings from all the major California painters from the 1870s to the turn of the century. He succeeded in forming a collection of 67 works that explored a variety of motifs, though most late 19th century California artists painted landscapes. His collection was the only one in San Francisco that survived the 1906 earthquake intact. The McCarthy Collection, acquired in 1962 from McCarthy’s daughter, Ruth, includes some of the best-known artists from California history, including Samuel Marsden Brookes, Norton Bush, and Jules Tavernier.