Who says Napa is only for oenophiles and foodies? Think ART while sipping wine and indulging in Michelin starred cuisine! From the Napa Valley Museum to the di Rosa collection to the Hess Art Museum, Napa offers art lovers much more than great food and wine.
Last month, with artist Vincent Xeus as our host (he also serves as a commissioner on the Yountville Arts Commission), we experienced NAPA VALLEY COLLECTS, in its third year at the Napa Valley Museum featuring The Art of Collecting, a unique and diverse exhibition of over 50 works loaned by resident collectors of the Valley. Touring the exhibition with Guest Curator, Doreen Schmid, we were visually and intellectually stimulated by a wide range of art collecting styles and media, including sculpture by Andro Wekua, owned by Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, founders of The Rachofsky House and photographs by Ansel Adams from Turnbull Winery owner Patrick O’Dell. We also attended “Collective Conversations”-the Museum sponsored panel discussion with five of the lending collectors from the Exhibition. The conversation proved engaging, humorous and thought provoking and represents the types of educational forums that Windows to the Divine endorses as a way of encouraging individuals and communities to collect and share their art.
Another must-see example of collectors sharing their art with the public is the famed di Rosa collection of approximately 2,000 works by more than 800 artists. Considered the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world, the nonprofit public trust was born from the vision of Rene and Veronica di Rosa, longtime art collectors and Napa vintners whose association with Bay Area artists flourished in the 60’s during Rene’s viticulture classes at UC Davis where he met and befriended artists and professors, including William T. Wiley, Robert Hudson and Robert Arneson. In 1982, Rene sold the vineyards, comprising 250 of their 450 acres in order to focus exclusively on building an “art park” for the public with the di Rosa collection as its centerpiece. The property includes a 35-acre lake and wildlife preserve and three galleries contained in the Gatehouse, Main Gallery and the historic residence of the collector couple shown here.
Finally, while enjoying Napa’s more than 450 wineries, art lovers should also venture down the bucolic country road leading to the Hess Art Museum at The Hess Collection Winery; an international collection of modern and contemporary art, including the work of Francis Bacon, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Motherwell and Frank Stella, housed in three museums (Napa, South Africa and Argentina) and started in the 60’s by Donald Hess. Believing that collectors have a responsibility to share their collections and make them accessible to the public, the Hess museums are open to the public and free of charge.
At Windows to the Divine, we applaud the efforts of other arts-related organizations and for profit corporations like the Napa wineries that affirm the importance of collecting and the need to make art collecting more accessible to everyone.
Shannon Robinson is the curator and chairperson of the national exhibition Windows to the Divine and the national plein air event Altitude and Attitude. More about Shannon…