By Chris Clemens

Recognized for showcasing museum-grade art and never-before-seen artworks, Heather James Fine Art is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The gallery offers a rare look into art history’s past and present featuring a wide breadth of genres including Impressionist, Modern, Post-War, Contemporary, American, Latin American, and Old Master art. This month they debut three exciting new exhibitions including an Andrew Wyeth Family exhibition of artwork by the many family members and descendants of N.C. Wyeth, spanning three generations; a Latin American Group Show featuring a multi-generational exhibition of artworks; and an Abstract Expressionist Group Show highlighting the women of Abstract Expressionism alongside their male counterparts.

The original gallery opened as Heather James Art & Antiquities, and transitioned to Heather James Fine Art in 2008, when they relocated to the now 8,000 square foot gallery at the corner of Portola Avenue and Highway 111 in Palm Desert. They uniquely showcase blue chip and cutting-edge contemporary art, while maintaining a respect for the integrity of antiquity and classical masterpieces.

While husband and wife owners, James Carona and Heather Sacre, had studied art and held art degrees, neither were working in the field when they decided to open the original 1,500 square foot antiquities gallery on El Paseo. Sacre was an elementary school teacher and Carona was a former investment banker teaching Tae Kwon Do through his karate school. The two were well-versed travelers who had collected rare and exclusive artworks over the years from locations across the world that they brought to the space.

“We made a decision to do what we love and that included a collaboration of art, learning, teaching, history, art history, and traveling,” says Sacre. “The gallery was a way to incorporate all of those things into a lifestyle, and we have found it amazingly satisfying to impart what we know to clients, staff, and the greater community as a whole.”

“It has been an extremely rewarding venture to focus on our passion and to have developed deep friendships with some of the collectors who have graciously provided rare and never-before-seen works for loan in our exhibitions,” added Carona. “In addition, it has been gratifying to have our local community members visit us to view distinguished exhibitions and masterpieces for purchase.”

Recognized for consistently curating extraordinary exhibitions, over the years the gallery has also featured the incredible artworks of Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei, and Fernando Botero, among many others. Notable artworks that have been sold through the gallery include paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, several Monet paintings, a masterpiece by Henri Matisse (which achieved the highest price ever paid at auction), cubist Picasso paintings, a Paul Cezanne still life, and a Frida Kahlo self-portrait.

With the couple’s passion and the success of the Palm Desert Gallery, they opened a second gallery in 2010 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The 4,000 square foot gallery has been a leader in bringing masterpieces by artists from a wide range of genres to the small town, traditionally known for Western art.

Heather James Fine Art is located at 45188 Portola Avenue in Palm Desert. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Sund. For more information, please visit www.heatherjames.com, contact James Carona at jim@heatherjames.com, or call the gallery at 760-346-8926.

  • Carlos Luna (1969)

  • Mary Abbott (1921) "Presence"

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