The World of William Saroyan
For the first time in more than ten years, the world of William Saroyan’s artistic and literary creation will be unveiled in his beloved San Francisco in a sweeping exhibition featuring drawings, paintings, unpublished manuscripts, correspondences, musical compositions, and ephemera. Known as a prolific creator, winner of both an Academy Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Saroyan wrote or painted nearly daily for decades and saved much of this output for posterity.
In 1934, twenty-six-year-old Saroyan debuted on the American literary landscape garnering critical accolades. His short fiction was unconventional, rhythmic and fresh, exciting a country in the depths of the Depression. At a time when his Salinas Valley contemporary, John Steinbeck, was writing about the gritty realities of working life in California, Saroyan presented a hopeful view of humanity, highlighting the California that was a haven for hard-working immigrants who struggled but also celebrated life in their adopted land. Writing extensively about Fresno and San Francisco, there is much for locals to relate to in his body of work. Until his death in 1981, Saroyan wrote about his lived experiences, harnessing stories from his own life, imbuing them with the surprising combination of authenticity and parable.
In this exhibit, Charles Janigian, a cousin of William Saroyan, shares his private family collection with the support of The Grabhorn Institute. Special programming will accompany the exhibit to be announced.
This exhibit was originally scheduled for April 16, 2020 - June 22, 2020. Due to the spread of the coronavirus and California's shelter-in-place order, and to protect our community, we will be rescheduling the exhibit. Please stay tuned for new dates and events. Our prayers go out to all during this time of worldwide crisis. Be well!