But few tourists (or locals) realize that as they stroll down Columbus Avenue en-route to Fisherman's Wharf - just two blocks up the hill at Chestnut Street lies a little gem of an art treasure - not only open to the public, but both free and virtually undiscovered. It is one of the most interesting murals ever painted by Diego Rivera and is called Making a Fresco (1931). It's located at the San Francisco Art Institute, at 800 Chestnut Street.
The work is essentially a mural within a mural - divided into six sections by the very scaffolding used to create it - or so it seems. It is itself a mural about the building of San Francisco and the advance of modernity.
But the trick employed by Rivera also turns the work into a depiction of the mural itself being painted by him and his associates. In-fact, Diego Rivera himself is part of this mural; you see him sitting on the scaffolding with his back to you directing the creation of the very work you're looking at. It is delicious fun for the eye - and a truly unique example of this master's talent.
And on your way out, take a few moments to stroll the halls of the Art Institute itself. It is a lovely building with student's art displayed throughout and panoramic views of North Beach and San Francisco Bay. And all of this is absolutely free.
A true San Francisco treat!