Weekend Fun: di Rosa Preserve Adventure

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I took Ben to the coolest art place yesterday! The di Rosa Preserve is this crazy eclectic art museum/land easement in the Carneros of the Napa Valley that has SO MUCH ART. Rene di Rosa moved to the Napa Valley in 1960, after serving in the Navy in WWII, moving to Paris to try to write the Great American Novel, and then going to San Francisco as part of the Beat generation.

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In 1980, or sometime around there, Rene sold the vineyard that surrounds his property (Winery Lake Vineyard) for the highest price a Napa vineyard had ever sold for. With his new fortune, he was able to devote himself to his passion, collecting the art of contemporary Northern California artists.

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This art car by David Best is actually driveable! It’s only one of several pieces (some sculptures, some paintings) by Best that were part of Rene’s collection. In the background of this picture you can see a colorful painting that includes the profiles of Rene di Rosa and his wife, Veronica.

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The collection includes 3 different buildings, including the di Rosa’s actual house, and a sculpture meadow. This rad photo hangs in the main gallery.

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One of my favorite pieces of art (that I sadly didn’t photograph) is under the di Rosa residence. It’s a chapel with a set of video monitors that play a slideshow of photos of stained glass windows from the Chartre Cathedral in France. The 12 minute show goes through photos taken over the course of a whole day; the light changes as if viewers were really sitting in front of the windows. It’s so cool.

The above photo is looking up into the residence from the cellar.

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The quality of this one isn’t great because I had to zoom a lot, but this is a series of porcelain hands sticking out of the grass in the sculpture meadow. One of the few works of art actually created by Rene di Rosa, this is called “Field Hands.” He had a really whimsical sense of humor.

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The di Rosa house is absolutely filled with art. It’s everywhere, and our docent said he thinks that there might have even been more art when the di Rosas lived there. I find that hard to believe. My favorite thing is the paintings on the ceiling.

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A nice guy on the tour took this picture for us! We had an awesome time exploring this super eccentric collection.

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