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

Craig Cannon was loading his hatchback with hundreds of framed historic photos of San Francisco that he had just taken out of the dumpster outside the Westin St. Francis San Francisco in Union Square as the SFPD moved in and microphoned him to disperse.

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The artist’s car stopped part of the traffic on Post Street, and he quickly accepted the request of the police.

A few minutes later, the Bay View resident was back in the metal can, taking a video of the hotel throwing away Wednesday afternoon.

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Hundreds of historic photos thrown from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of historic photos thrown from the Westin St. Francis.

Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Hundreds of works of art were scattered in the dumps. Some are watercolors of the Ferry Building and City Hall, while another is a mosaic of old Stella Artois advertisements. There were mirrors (some broken) and sconces, plus the entire door to the finance department.

The Westin St.  Francis in the mirror reflection in the trash can.

The Westin St. Francis in the mirror reflection in the trash can.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Hundreds of historic artifacts thrown from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of historic artifacts thrown from the Westin St. Francis.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

The Westin St. Francis in the mirror and historical artefacts placed in the dumpster. (Silas Valentino/SFGATE)

The most common element is the frame that shows the side-by-side view of the Westin’s exterior and interior. Ricardo Negrete, an employee of the hotel for seven years, was asked to put the art in a yellow bin and move it to the landfill. He told SFGATE that he was happy that the divers were interested.

“I personally will not throw this away,” he said. “They said it was time to remove them and bring in new art. I think it’s hard to throw it all away.

Negrete said the Westin renovated its main building a few years ago, and old art has previously adorned the hotel’s hallways and is now visible throughout the historic building.

Hundreds of historic artifacts thrown from the Westin St.  Francis.

Hundreds of historic artifacts thrown from the Westin St. Francis.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Ricardo Negrete introduces historic art from the Westin St.  Francis to the dump.

Ricardo Negrete introduces historic art from the Westin St. Francis to the dump.


Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Ricardo Negrete introduces historic art from the Westin St. Francis to the dump. (Silas Valentino/SFGATE)

“I wish more people would see these,” Negrete added before going to pick up the next batch of collectible art destined for the landfill.

When Negrete returned with new supplies, Cannon was there to walk them through. He took a painting of the Ferry Building and ended up filling his car with too many frames to count.

Craig Cannon fills the hatchback with dozens of historic photos framed by the Westin St.  Francis.

Craig Cannon fills the hatchback with dozens of historic photos framed by the Westin St. Francis.

Silas Valentino/SFGATE

Cannon saw an online article about the dump while going to Caffe Trieste in North Beach to pick up a forgotten debit card. He plans to clean up the images of the two images and replace them with his own artwork depicting the city before painting over them.

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



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