It was Margrit Mondavi’s dream that UC Davis would have an art museum, and now-just two months after the Napa Valley matriarch’s death at age 91-her dream will be realized with the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.
“Margrit and I were very close friends, and we will be connected forever this way,” says Maria Manetti Shrem, who, with her husband Jan Shrem, added a whopping $10 million gift to the museum on top of Mondavi’s $2 million. The museum, synergistically located across from the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, is slated to open Nov. 13.
Though their resumes reveal heavy-hitting business credentials—Maria was a primary force at Gucci while Jan was the founder of Clos Pegase winery and an international book publishing firm—the Shrems share a lifelong passion for the arts, serving as active patrons in San Francisco, one of their three homes (along with Napa and Italy, where Maria was born).
“In being involved in art, we discover ourselves,” says Maria. Adds Jan, “We are very happy that museum admission is free. Any student can go in and enrich his or her life.”
The museum’s spectacular beauty doesn’t hurt either, Maria says. “The museum is a piece of art itself. I carry a picture of it with me everywhere I go. When I show it to my friends, they are in awe.”