Di Rosa

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di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art
Established1997 (1997)
Location5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa, California, United States
Collection size1,600
DirectorRobert Sain

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is a non-profit contemporary art center in Napa, California that also maintains a collection of art by Northern California artists including Robert Arneson, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, and William T. Wiley. di Rosa's mission is to be a catalyst for transformative experiences with contemporary art of Northern California.

The foundation that runs the center announced in July 2019 that they would sell most of the current collection of 1,600 works, but keep several hundred. The sales will increase the foundation's endowment, and help provide "dynamic and compelling exhibitions, integrated education programs, strategic partnerships, all with an eye towards experimentation, supporting artists, and commissioning new work," according to Executive Director Robert Sain.[1]


The institution is housed on the property of Rene di Rosa (1919–2010), who, with his wife Veronica (1934–1991), collected artwork for over 40 years from Northern California and transformed their home and property into spaces for housing and displaying their collection.[2] di Rosa and his site was an active space for the development of site-specific, conceptual, and experimental artwork in the 1960s and 1970s as mentioned by artists Dennis Oppenheim,[3] Paul Kos,[4] and David Best.[5] In 1997, Rene di Rosa opened the property up to visitors and in 2000 incorporated the 217 acres, dubbed di Rosa Preserve, into a public trust.[6] In 2002, Rene di Rosa stepped down and the institution was run by its first executive director.[7]

In 2007, director Nancy Kelly produced Smitten, a documentary about Rene di Rosa and his collection. The film aired on PBS in July 2007.[8]


di Rosa maintains a holding of artworks collected by Rene di Rosa in their permanent collection, a selection of which are on view on the grounds and in the Residence Gallery. Following the planned sale of the majority of its collection, the center will focus on the works of William Allan, Robert Arneson, David Best, Nayland Blake, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Judy Dater, Jay DeFeo, Viola Frey, Robert Hudson, David Ireland, Paul Kos, Jim Melchert, Peter Saul, and William T. Wiley.[1]

Exhibitions and programming[edit]

di Rosa's curatorial staff organizes rotating exhibitions of work from the collection and work by emerging and established Bay Area artists. Notable exhibitions include The True Artists is an Amazing Luminous Fountain, a traveling exhibition of work from the collection curated by Jack Rasmussen (April 2004 - November 2005)[9][10][11] and Equilibrium: A Paul Kos Survey an solo exhibition of the artist's site-specific conceptual work curated by Amy Owen (April - October 2016).[12][13][14]

di Rosa also organizes programming and educational programs related to their exhibitions.


Coordinates: 38°15′29″N 122°21′10″W / 38.2580°N 122.3529°W / 38.2580; -122.3529

  1. ^ a b Armstrong, Annie (5 July 2019). "Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to Become Non-Collecting Entity, Deaccession Portion of Holdings". Art News. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  2. ^ von Busack, Richard (11 May 2000). "Artful Refuge: California art finds a home at the di Rosa Preserve". MetroActive Arts. Metro Publishing Inc. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. ^ Boettger, Suzaan (July–August 1995). "Oral history interview with Dennis Oppenheim". Archives of American Art. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. ^ Earnest, Jarrett (2 April 2012). "Ice Makes Fire". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ Whittaker, Richard (23 December 2008). "Interview: John Toki". Conversations.org. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  6. ^ Wood, M.V. (22 February 2002). "Artful codger / Rene di Rosa converts Napa home, grounds into gallery for the unpretentious". SFGate. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  7. ^ Brady-Herndon, Gary (5 March 2002). "di Rosa steps down". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Smitten". Center for Independent Documentary. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  9. ^ Lawrence, Sidney (30 May 2004). "California Quirks: In 'True Artist,' Few False Notes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  10. ^ The true artist is an amazing luminous fountain. Selected Works from the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature. di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature. 2005. p. 44. ASIN B0006YUDOI. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  11. ^ "The True Artist is an Amazing Luminous Fountain". KQED Arts. 1 November 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  12. ^ Desmarais, Charles (20 July 2016). "Conceptual artist mixes Dada, dry wit". SFGate.com. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  13. ^ Caples, Garrett (17 May 2016). "Equilibrium: A Paul Kos Survey". Art Practical. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  14. ^ Vázquez-Concepción, Ángel Rafael (1 May 2016). "Equilibrium: A Paul Kos Survey at di Rosa". Daily Serving. Retrieved 15 November 2016.

External links[edit]