Intriguing Local Artist

From the verdant valleys of Napa to the eighteenth century courtly French painters he often emulates, Ira Yeager derives inspiration from the many places he has at one time called home: Florence, Corfu, Tangiers, Santa Fe, New York City, San Francisco, and, since 1978, Calistoga. Born in 1938 in Bellingham, Washington, Yeager began drawing at the age of eight. His innate talent eventually led him to the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco where he studied with Richard Diebenkorn, and then to the San Francisco Art Institute under the tutelage of Elmer Bischoff. Though he traveled and painted throughout the world, even the most exotic locales held no candle to the California Wine Country way of life to which he aspired to the role of ‘noble farmer,’ in the same way that the French nobility once escaped Paris for Versailles. A romantic nostalgia for this particular era permeates his artworks; members of the trades and guilds and humble peasants are frequent subjects, each whimsically portrayed with broad and bold brush strokes. Equally important within his portfolio is his series of Indian paintings, a theme to which he has returned again and again. Other subjects include Venetian masks, portraits, still life’s, and even eighteenth-century chaussures. Yeager loves the weather, the escapism, and the creative energy of wine country; much of his artistic output takes place in his Napa Valley Studio on the plateau of the Petrified Forest region above Calistoga. Yeager’s work has been showcased for many years in Laura Rombauer’s Napa Valley Vintage Home in St. Helena, and now as well at the new YEAGER GALLERY in Calistoga.


Article By: Fran Miller