di Rosa Museum, Napa, CA

A surprise in the Napa, California countryside

When invited to an event, one never knows who or what might be discovered. Recently, we visited a friend in Sonoma County, California, for an extended weekend of relaxation. When we were asked, prior to our departure, if we would be interested in visiting the di Rosa, we wondered if we would be attending a wine-tasting event. When we were told the di Rosa was a collection of artwork, we did not imagine what type of adventure we were about to encounter. Little did we know it would be so visually stimulating and thought-provoking.
We were scheduled to tour the collection on a Friday. We parked, walked to the  Gatehouse, entered the gallery shop and paid our entry fee. From there we were taken on a journey of experiencing one work of art after another - from one space to another - a literal tour de force of painting, sculpture, and photography.

At the very core of the collection, are two invisible, co-collaborator collectors (Rene and Veronica di Rosa) who, along with a large group of highly imaginative and productive artists, all seemed to be speaking the same language, dialoguing on multiple topics, and blending into one multi-dimensional, organic whole. Now a public museum, the di Rosa collection, located on 217 acres in the Napa Valley of California, is considered "the most significant collection of San Francisco Bay Area art in the world." The founders, Rene and Veronica di Rosa, amassed over 2000 plus works of art, created by more than 800 artists. The collection is housed in several buildings, starting with the Gatehouse Gallery and ending with the former di Rosa home. And as the shuttle vehicle makes its way from one building to the next, outdoor sculpture is placed in various key locations - in an extraordinary natural setting of lake (Winery Lake), oak woodland, native grasses, and wildflowers.

Rene di Rosa, in an interview, stated,
"... The Bay Area is the pond from which I fish. It does not define the catch. My personal taste does not include austere abstraction, white on white. I like additive art, not reductive art. I prefer maximal to minimal. I like the figure and identifiable objects that grab your attention through their familiarity. The artists I like use the familiar as a hook to lead you into new realms. The best artists are like shamans who can take us to deeper truths."
This statement defines the collection. One must, however, prepare for the actual experience of appreciating so much art all at once. Viewing the di Rosa website will  set you on your journey. However, your journey will only be complete with an enlightening visit.
There is nothing like it - without qualification. A visit to the di Rosa is a must on your next visit to Napa / Sonoma or northern California, generally.

Selected Artists:
Bill Allan
David Best
Elmer Bischoff
Judy Dater
Roy De Forest
Stephen De Staebler
Viola Frey
David Ireland
Tom Marioni
Richard Misrach
Ron Nagle
Manuel Neri
Nathan Olivera
Mel Ramos
Raymond Saunders
Peter Voulkos
William T. Wiley

From YouTube: KQEDondemand - 2003 - Meet Mr. Rene di Rosa - learn more about the man and the collection
For more information: di Rosa website
For more videos: YouTube
Please note: All still photographs, above, courtesy of the di Rosa Museum


  1. Hi Steve, I was looking up an old blog post of di Rosa on my blog and saw your comment, and realize I never saw it, uh almost 4 years ago? how can that be? lol. After checking out your blog I wanted to say I will definitely be back. You have a lot of great stuff posted and I really want a yolkfish!!! :-)

  2. Thanks, Judy! I appreciate your kind words.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts