The Hess Art Collection
Founder Donald Hess’s art collection began when he purchased a painting as décor for his new home. Years later, a friend studied the painting and informed him that he owned a Picasso. This twist of fate gave Donald his first indication that he might have an eye for art curation. Donald Hess formally began collecting art in 1966, and for him, art collection was a personal endeavor. He was driven by a passion for connecting with living artists and developing a close dialogue with each artist to better understand what drives them to create.
As is evident by the caliber of the art gallery, the Hess-Persson family collects art with an uncanny ability to identify lesser known artists who often go on to become well-known and highly-respected in their disciplines. Once he connected with an artist, Donald was committed to each artist throughout their career.
When you visit the winery on Mount Veeder, you have the opportunity to take part in a guided tour of the impressive Hess Art Collection, followed by a tasting of our equally impressive estate-exclusive wines.
Throughout his career, most of Goldsworthy’s work has been made in the open air. The materials he uses are those to hand in the remote locations he visits: twigs, leaves, stones, snow and ice, reeds and thorns. Most works are ephemeral but demonstrate, in their short life, Goldsworthy’s extraordinary sense of play and of place.
Homage has a great deal of personal meaning for Maler himself, however. His uncle, a well-known Argentinean journalist, was killed for the inflammatory content of his political essays. The old Underwood Typewriter that now emits flames in the place of words is of the same style that Maler’s uncle used during his esteemed career. Marta Traba, art critic and theorist for Latin American Art, wrote before her death that Maler’s typewriter is the ultimate symbol of Latin America Art.
Donald Hess was drawn to Rauschenberg “because of his tremendous integrity as an artist.” Hess continues, “His work exudes the passion Rauschenberg felt for making art and discovering new modes of expression. Furthermore, he related to his incessant search for a challenge and was amazed by his innate ability to arrange ordinary objects in a way that looks so effortless and poetic. Rauschenberg was a master at making the complicated simple.”
The textural sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz reflect not only her attraction to the natural and organic, but also her memories of the desolation and brutality of a childhood in war-torn Poland. The daughter of a baronial landowner, Abakanowicz was forced to flee her rural home after the Second World War when the Soviets confiscated it. As a young artist in Warsaw, she lacked the money to buy materials traditionally used in sculpture and turned instead to the detritus of communist industry, much of which she initially found on the docks of her adopted city. Her visceral works highlight their crude media – whether burlap, bronze, or found wood – while at the same time expressing an internal spirit so powerful that they become oddly noble signs of a displaced humanity.
The work of Andy Goldsworthy is featured prominently in the art collection at Hess Persson Estates. Learn more about Goldsworthy’s work featured in our museum gallery.
Super Wall Flower by the late Alan Rath, a new addition our Museum which, as with much of Rath’s work, addresses the intersection of the natural and technological worlds.