Arts & Theater

What Gucci, Clos Pegase winery and UC Davis’ new art museum have in common

Preview of the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art opening this weekend

The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is opening this weekend at the campus of the UC Davis.
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The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is opening this weekend at the campus of the UC Davis.

The new UC Davis art institution bears an especially long name: The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. In shorthand, this much-anticipated arts center will be called the “Manetti Shrem Museum.”

Opening Nov. 13, it will be free to the public and display works from UC Davis’ renowned art alumni, and much more.

So who are the Shrems and why is the museum named after them? Here are five things to know:

1. Jan Shrem founded Clos Pegase winery: This Calistoga-based winery is known as much for its art appreciation as its cabernet sauvignon. Before selling Clos Pegase in 2013 to the owner of Dean & Deluca and other partners, Shrem used the winery as a kind of gallery for his extensive art collection, which includes works by Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. Some of the sculptures in Shrem’s collection previously were donated to UC Davis.

2. Maria Manetti Shrem helped bring Gucci to North America: The native of Florence, Italy, served as the director of Gucci franchises during the 1980s. She also manged distribution in the United States and Canada for leather goods from Mark Cross and Fendi. She left the high-end fashion business amid the economic downturn of the early 1990s and focused some of her efforts on the production of premium olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

3. The two were married on Valentine’s Day in 2012: The couple had known one another socially for a decade before tying the knot at San Francisco’s City Hall. Jan Shrem was a widow, and the former Maria Manetti Farrow was twice divorced. Their marriage was celebrated with a black tie ball at Villa Mille Rosa, the $35 million Napa Valley estate owned by Maria Manetti Shrem.

4. The Shrems gave $10 million to UC Davis’ new museum: This donation is the largest to be received by UC Davis’ College of Letters and Science, which oversees the university’s art and art history departments. With a $10 million naming rights gift, the monies given by the Shrems represent one-third of the overall funding to build the museum.

5. They’ve served as a key benefactor to KQED: In 2012, the Shrems donated $1.5 million to San Francisco’s KQED public TV and radio. The gift, which was distributed over three years, was the largest individual gift in KQED’s history. Other philanthropic gifts include a $3 million donation to the San Francisco Opera in 2011.

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias

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