A love of art has been passed down a generation at the LaGallerie in St. Charles. What started as in-home art parties grew into an art gallery which has been a beacon of culture in Historic St. Charles for the last 25 years. The company was started by the late Peter Passiglia who started his career in the art industry with in-home art parties. Passiglia and his wife Joyce would bring several oil paintings in different frames to groups of potential buyers. Eventually, he and his wife decided to take the leap into the art gallery world, opening his 900-square-foot gallery at 812 South Main Street in St. Charles in 1993. When Passiglia passed away in 2015, his daughter Dawn Painter took an early retirement as an operations manager for American Airlines to take over the family-owned business. With a degree in business from Lindenwood Univsersity and growing up with parents immersed in art culture, the decision to take over the gallery was simple.
The art gallery features original oil paintings, abstracts and Giclée prints. Giclée, discovered in the early 1990s, is a process of reproducing fine art by archival, high quality inkjet printers. Dawn said the Giclee prints are a gorgeous and affordable way to purchase an excellent piece of art. Dawn’s favorite artist right now is Ray Simonini. “[I like] his wonderful farm animals including pigs, sheep, rooster, and cows,” she said. Dawn is also a fan of local artist John Stoeckley’s pen and ink drawings. Stoeckley, who is known for his drawings of stadiums and universities, had his exhibit at the gallery earlier this year. Stoeckley took his exhibit on the road this summer, but his art will be back on display at LaGallerie later this year. The gallery’s newest artist is Deiter Mueller. “He lived in Brazil for years as a shoe designer for Nine West. He has painted some beautiful images from his time in Brazil,” said Dawn. “(He’s) a very talented artist.”
The gallery has an on-site framer, Kathy Grooms, with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She can share her vast knowledge to help clients choose the perfect frame for each individual art piece. She can also take customers’ existing art and create an impeccable frame to showcase the piece. “Some folks buy art on cruise ships and we can most certainly stretch those paintings for our customers,” said Dawn. “We have a wide variety of frames too.”
Kathy worked for LaGallerie with Dawn’s father when he opened the gallery. She was the first employee hired. “When my father passed away, we got back in touch and I’m so glad we did! People love her. She has this outstanding personality,” said Dawn. “She can talk to everyone.”
In addition to the variety of paintings and prints, the gallery also sells several unique lines of home accessories. From mirrors and sconces to European vases and Christmas ornaments to fun signs and items for pet lovers, the shop offers all types of décor to fit each home’s distinctive personality. “We have beautiful pieces for the home that you can’t find anywhere else.”
To check out LaGallerie online, visit Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.