SF dumpster divers discover vintage art in Westin St. Francis’ trash

Craig Canon was in the process of loading his hatchback with several photos of San Francisco history that he had recently found in a dumpster outside the Westin St. Francis San Francisco in Union Square when the SFPD rolled in and called him to dump.

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The writer’s car was slowing down on Post Street, and he quickly contacted the police.

A few minutes later, the Bay View resident was back inside the metal can, taking photos of the hotel’s disposal on Wednesday afternoon.

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Hundreds of pieces of historic art have been cast from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of pieces of historic art have been cast from the Westin St. Francis.

Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Hundreds of pieces of art were scattered in the dumpster. Some were watercolors of the Ferry Building and City Hall, while another part was a copy of old Stella Artois advertisements. There were mirrors (some broken) and sconces, as well as the entire door of the accounting department.

The Westin St.  Francis in the reflection of the glass in the dumpster.

The Westin St. Francis in the reflection of the glass in the dumpster.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Hundreds of historical figures have been cast from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of historical figures have been cast from the Westin St. Francis.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

The Westin St. Francis in a glass display and a piece of art history placed in a dumpster. (Silas Valentino/SFGATE)

The most common pieces were frames that show a side-by-side look at the Westin’s exterior and interior. Ricardo Negrete, an employee of the hotel for seven years, was given the task of putting the pictures in a yellow bin and taking them to the landfill. He told SFGATE that he was a fan of dumpster divers.

“Personally, I can’t throw this away,” he said. “They said it was time for them to leave them and come up with new skills. I think it is wrong to throw all this away. “

Negrete said the Westin renovated its main building a few years ago, and old paintings had once decorated the hotel’s halls and appeared in the old building.

Hundreds of historical figures have been cast from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of historical figures have been cast from the Westin St. Francis.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Ricardo Negrete carries the historic expertise from the Westin St.  Francis into the dumpster.

Ricardo Negrete carries the historic expertise from the Westin St. Francis into the dumpster.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Ricardo Negrete carries the historic expertise from the Westin St. Francis into the dumpster. (Silas Valentino/SFGATE)

“I wish more people could see this,” Negrete added before leaving to pick up the next pile of photos to be thrown away.

When Negrete returned with a list of items, Canon was there to search through them. He took a watercolor of the Ferry Building and finished packing his car with too many frames.

Craig Canon loads his hatchback with several framed photos from the Westin St.  Francis.

Craig Canon loads his hatchback with several framed photos from the Westin St. Francis.

Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Canon had seen an article online about the dumpster when he went to Caffe Trieste in North Beach to retrieve a forgotten bank card. He plans to clean the frames of two pictures and replace them with his own pictures of the city before painting on them.

“Now I can do front and back,” he said. “These frames are gold to me.



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