DescriptionAN AMERICAN POSTER: SUTRO BATHS
Four sheet color lithograph
76 x 81 inches (193.0 x 205.7 cm)
This large, four panel lithograph was done by an anonymous artist for the San Francisco businessman and former mayor Adolphe Sutro who, in 1881, bought most of the western headlands of San Francisco foreseeing the growth of the city to the shore of the Pacific Ocean.
In 1886, Sutro Baths opened to a dazzled public at the astounding cost of one million dollars. Spread over three acres, the artistic detail and engineering ingenuity were impressive: A classic Greek portal opened to a massive glass enclosure containing one fresh water tank, five salt-water tanks at various temperatures and a large salt water tank at ocean temperature. Together the pools held 1,685,000 gallons of sea water and could be filled or emptied in one hour by the high or low tides. There were 20,000 bathing suits and 40,000 towels for rent as well as slides, trapezes, springboards and a high dive for up to 1,600 bathers. There were 517 changing rooms and a capacity for 7,400 bathers. Balmy temperatures and abundant plants enhanced "California's Tropical Winter Garden."
The billboard was originally done to advertise the baths to the public and was posted around San Francisco. Text was added after the billboard was posted, each of the 4 sheets had to be carefully mounted. This print retains its vivid coloration.
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