Roger Epperson (d. 2008) was an East Bay Regional Parks Ranger for over thirty years who had a passion for California’s environment and a deep love of art. Epperson was a self taught collector of early California landscape paintings, etchings and woodblock prints. He scoured auction houses, antique stores, garage sales, galleries and the internet to accumulate an impressive collection of hundreds of works. An active environmentalist, Epperson shared the same view, awe and respect of nature as the artists who depicted it in his collection. With a ridge named in his honor located in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art will pay tribute to Epperson and his collection this summer.
Epperson’s collecting endeavors began over twenty five years ago when he saw an exhibition at the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (formerly the Hearst Art Gallery) entitled The Color Wood Cut in America 1895-1945. His inspiration led to a collection worthy of a museum exhibition as it includes the work of several noted artists including paintings by Maurice Braun, Percy Gray, Mary DeNeale Morgan, Carl Sammons, William S. Rice an ink drawing by Maynard Dixon and etchings by Roi Partridge, Cornelis Botke, Luigi Lucioni and woodblock prints by Frances Gearhart, Gustave Baumann, Bertha Lum, Xavier Martinez, Hiroshi Yoshida, Chiura Obata, and several more. On view are 90 pieces by over 50 artists.