More Eucalyptus in Golden Gate Park: The Cadenasso Group

"Eucalypti,"  by Giuseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918), oil on canvas, 48 x 31"

Eucalypti, by Giuseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918), oil on canvas, 48 x 31″

The Cadenasso Group, a grove of Eucalyptus trees on the west shore of Middle Lake in Golden Gate Park, is named in honor of  San Francisco painter Giuseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918).  Cadenasso arrived in California from Italy at the age of 9 and studied painting at the California School of Design and The Mark Hopkins Institute under Arthur Mathews (1860-1945) and Raymond Yelland (1848-1900).  He became a successful Bay Area landscape painter and a leading figure in San Francisco’s artistic community, maintaining a house and studio on Russian Hill until it was destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 Earthquake.  After that tragic event, Cadenasso moved his studio to Oakland, where he been appointed as professor and chair of the art department at Mills College in 1902, a position he held for the rest of his life.  He was among a group of celebrated plein air painters in California in this period, who extolled the beauty of the local landscape.  Among his favorite subjects were the Eucalyptus trees and, particularly, the varied effects of light on their luminous trunks and dappled foliage.

"Golden Gate Park," oil, by Giuseppe Cadenesso

Golden Gate Park, Giuseppe Cadenasso

Cadenasso was struck and killed by a car at the intersection of Powell and Post in San Francisco in 1918, as he was returning home after seeing his son off to fight in WW I.  In 1919, then mayor of San Francisco, James Rolph, requested the dedication of a grove of eucalyptus in Golden Gate Park to commemorate  Cadenasso, as he had frequently painted there.

"By the Pool," oil, by Giuseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918)

By the Pool, Giuseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918)


About fromthethicket

I'm a landscape historian and professor emeritus of landscape architecture, UC Davis. I live in San Francisco.
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5 Responses to More Eucalyptus in Golden Gate Park: The Cadenasso Group

  1. Dee Seligman says:

    A lovely visual acknowledgement of the importance of eucalyptus to our California landscape. Thank you for this historical information AND for the visuals!

  2. Stephen Kane says:

    Wonderful story and image. Now I have to try to find “The Cadenasso Group” next time I’m at that end of the park. I gather that the deYoung holds at least one of his works … wonder which one, and if it’s on permanent display??

  3. milliontrees says:

    A few months ago I visited Mills College for the first time with the Oakland Heritage Alliance. It is a beautiful campus for many reasons, but its big collection of old eucalyptus is one of them. The campus architect told us the eucalypts were planted shortly after the campus was founded because the wind whistled through the valley in which the campus was built. The eucalypts are providing a valuable windbreak, but that hasn’t protected them from the demands of nativists that they be destroyed. These demands have so far been largely resisted.

    So, Cadenasso’s appreciation for the beauty of eucalyptus is logical, given his long association withe Mills College. Thank you for this interesting article.

  4. sparrow says:

    Wow these are so gorgeous–thanks for sharing.

  5. Calvin C Snyder says:

    Great story about a San Francisco treasure. However, it must be noted that the Cadenasso home was not destroyed in the earthquake and following fire. It survived and is still standing on Russian Hill at 15-17 Macondray Lane.

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