Desert Hermitage: The Art Collection of Regina and Dimitry Kirillov

By Katie Nartonis

Regina Kirillov and her late husband Dimitry moved to Joshua Tree in the year 2000. Twenty-two years ago, they found the high desert to be a nascent arts community centered around the Twentynine Palms Art Gallery and the first years of the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours.

The couple attended the Art Tours every year and enjoyed collecting the art that spoke directly to their tastes. Dimitry, who passed in 2021, was a talented photographer and Regina had been a classically trained ballet dancer. They found that the high desert artists captured their fascination and before too long, they had amassed dozens of pieces of original local desert artwork.

In 2011, the couple found that there was no empty space left on their walls, so they purchased another house, refurbished it, and placed their art collection there. Regina recalls that they called it their ‘Joshua Tree Hermitage Museum.’ The couple had planned to open the house to the public, but they dropped the idea after discovering the county requirements for opening a museum to the public.

(We) wanted to allow viewers to view what the art scene – our art scene – was like in the past
– Regina Kirillov

Regina is aware of the loss of art from the previous generation of artists, and notes that they “wanted to preserve the tradition of local art for children and others who will live here, 30 to 40 years from now. The museum would have allowed them to view what the art scene – our art scene now – was like in the past.” Artists that are represented include: Will Hanson, Suzanne Ross, Robyn Goudi, Bonny Brady and the photographs of the late Dimitri Kirillov.

From Our Partners

Regina Kirillov has donated their collection to the MBCAC in memory of her late husband Dimitry. The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council will have the collection on view during the month of November.

The collection will be sold in a silent auction format to support the MBCAC mission, which is to support the art and artists of the high desert community. The collection will be on view at JTAG (The Joshua Tree Art Gallery) from November 5 – 25th. During that time, buyers can register and bid. There will be no minimum bids required, and winners will be notified by phone and will need to pick up by Monday, November 28th. There will be an opening reception during the Joshua Tree Second Saturday Gallery Walk on Saturday, November 12th from 6-8pm. for more information and gallery hours.

Don’t miss this opportunity to own a part of desert history!

Katie Nartonis is runs JTAG (Joshua Tree Art Gallery) and is an art and design specialist, writer, curator and filmmaker who lives in Yucca Valley. Her passion is telling the stories of California artists and is inspired by the many creatives who live here in the high desert communities.

From Our Partners