An Imaginative Depiction of San Francisco

During the Gold Rush & The Barbary Coast Era


illustrated by Satty

text Selected by Walter Medeiros


Paperback:  $39.95 / ISBN-13: 978-1-58790-140-9 . 254 pages / 9” x 12”/ 135 full page illustrations


Illustrated Books / San Francisco /  Historical Art

This is an art historical book, an impressionistic and imaginative one; the 135 illustrations are paired with excerpts from published eyewitness accounts. The artworks were created in the late 1970s by Satty, a San Francisco collage artist. Satty (Wilfried Podriech, 1939-82) emigrated from Bremen, Germany in 1961. He settled in North Beach, where he associated with people of the 1950s Beat era. Through such influences, and inspired by the expansive, energetic “art rush” of the Hippie culture, in 1966 Satty began making psychedelic posters. These early designs incorporated images cut from old books and magazines, etc., in the tradition of collage art developed in the Dada and Surrealist art movements. He soon began creating artworks exclusively with images, but precise technique—in the cutting out, assembling and seamless merging of images—remained a hallmark of his art. About 1975, Satty began work on this series of San Francisco collages. He was impressed by the many historical — and colorful — eyewitness accounts of the Gold Rush era and the developing city. Noting that the pictorial record of this historic time was meager, he decided to graphically re-create the period from about 1846 to the 1890s. To more effectively evoke the visual and emotional experiences, his visionary (and sometimes bizarre) illustrations are matched with relevant published accounts.


As an interested art historian and friend since 1971, editor Walter Medeiros was often closely involved with Satty, especially during the last year of the artist’s life. Satty often discussed the project with him, and took pleasure in showing him the work in progress. Through Satty’s will, Medeiros inherited the project. The book was a largely developed  by 1984, and in that year the illustrations and texts were exhibited at the museum of the California Historical Society.

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