1. George Kuchar
George Kuchar is known for being one of the more prolific underground filmmakers of the 20th century. A large portion of his enormous, wildly imaginative filmography is made up of short films made with his students during the time Kuchar spent on the faculty at SFAI.
2. Dorothea Lange
One of the most prominent photojournalists of the 20th century, Dorothea Lange is remembered today for her powerful Great Depression era work for the Farm Security Administration. After rising to fame, Lange taught photography alongside Ansel Adams at SFAI, in the first-ever Fine Art Photography department.
3. Ansel Adams
Renowned photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams is probably best known for his widely circulated and appreciated photographs of national parks and American landscapes. In 1945, Adams founded the country’s first Fine Art Photography department at San Francisco Art Institute. At the time, faculty included Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, Minor White, Edward Weston, and Lisette Model.
4. Angela Davis
Since she emerged as a prominent countercultural figure and political activist in the 1960s, Angela Davis has made a name for herself standing up for civil rights and the rights of the American working class. Davis joined the faculty at SFAI in 1976. While at SFAI, she applied her knowledge of philosophy to teach Aesthetics.
5. Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko was a famous American painter most well known for his abstract expressionist works, which have been exhibited in every major museum in the United States (and many major international museums). He was hired in 1945 by director Douglas MacAgy to teach Abstract Expressionism during a CSFA summer session.
1. George Kuchar, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Angela Davis, and Mark Rothko. Images from SFAI Archive.
2. George Kuchar teaching in Studio 8 at SFAI. Photo from SFAI Archives.
3. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936.
4. Ansel Adams. Photo by J. Malcolm Greany, Circa 1947.
5. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, chairperson of the Soviet women committee meeting with Angela Davis at Sheremetyevo Airport, 1972. Courtesy of RIA Novosti Archive.
6. Mark Rothko, No. 14, 1960. Oil on canvas. Photo by SFMOMA.