Last week I had an art date with a friend. We went to the di Rosa Gallery and grounds on Sonoma Highway in Napa. Rene Di Rosa was a passionate art collector who became equally renowned for his famed Winery Lake vineyards and his philanthropy. In 1960, he purchased 450 acres in the little-known Carneros region of Napa and became a leader in the fight to preserve the region’s agriculture and open space. Today the property consists of over 200 acres of landscaped grounds and open space, including a 35-acre lake and wildlife preserve. Roaming freely and unperturbed by visitors, we encountered two peacocks who were quite willing to pose for us.
The Gatehouse Gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday for drop-in visits. This gallery features rotating group and solo exhibits and selections from di Rosa’s permanent collection.
The Main Gallery contains the heart of the di Rosa collection– approximately 2,000 pieces by over 800 artists — and includes modern and contemporary paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photographs by well-known Bay Area artists including Robert Arneson, David Best, Roy De Forest, Jay DeFeo, Viola Frey and others. One visits the Main Gallery by guided tour only.
The courtyard just outside the di Rosa home displays two engaging Viola Frey pieces. This larger-than-life reclining man has the lake as backdrop. I loved the chair (on the left). Click on an image for a larger view.
At first glance, my friend took this smaller Frey piece for a live person.
During our tour we heard more than one person say that they lived in the area and had driven by many times without stopping. They were very glad they had taken the time! The majority of visitors were from out-of-state. If you have an opportunity to spend some time at di Rosa, take it — it is a real treat.