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Guy Rose (1867-1925)

Guy Rose occupies a unique position among California's early landscape painters. One of the few born in California, he was also the most dedicated disciple of French Impressionism, having trained in the academies of Paris, met Monet, and lived and painted in Giverny, the mecca of French Impressionism. His influence was later recognized as a major factor in the development of the Impressionistic style among California's painters.

Guy Rose was born in San Gabriel, California on March 3, 1867 on his family's Sunny Slope estate. His father brought his family over the Santa Fe Trail and became a highly successful rancher in the San Gabriel Valley. Their second ranch, "Rosemead," a race horse stud farm, became the namesake of the founding of the town of Rosemead and also gave the name to the present large boulevard of the San Gabriel Valley.

After graduating from Los Angeles High School in 1885, Rose began his art training at the School of Design in San Francisco under Virgil Williams and Emil Carlsen. In 1888 he studied in Paris under Jean Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Jules Lefebvre, and Jean Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian. 

Rose returned to California fall of 1891 and presented his work in Los Angeles at an exhibition at Sanborn, Vail & Company. In 1894 he received an award from that prestigious institution. While he loved easel painting, he found it necessary to seek commercial work. Returning to New York City in the mid 1890's, Rose worked on illustrations for
Harper's, Scribner's, and Century magazines. In 1893 Guy participated in the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition and served on the selection committee to choose a representative of California art. Easel painting and the artistic milieu of Paris, however, lured him back. He kept his commercial contacts, making short trips on illustration assignments, but his main concern was painting and further study at the Julian. He distinguished himself in 1894 when he won an Honorable Mention, distinguishing Rose as the first Californian to receive a Salon honor. Rose and Ethel Boardman married in Paris January 3, 1895. He taught at Pratt Institute in 1896 twice a week.

In 1899 he bought a cottage in Giverny, and it was there that he was greatly influenced by the French Impressionists. He became a member of the local American art colony and associated with artists Richard Miller, Lawton Parker, and Frederick Frieseke. The four artists would later exhibit in New York in 1910 as "The Giverny Group." Although not a formal student of Monet, Rose met him and received his criticism and suggestions, and became a dedicated disciple. He suffered from recurring lead poisoning, which affected his vision and crippled his hands, and he was unable to paint for various periods of time.

In 1912 he returned to New York, and two years later made his final move back to Pasadena, where he taught and served as the director of the Stickney School of Art. Rose's presence in California contributed to the consolidation of American Impressionism. In 1921 he was left paralyzed after a stroke but continued to paint, exhibiting widely and selling numerous works of art. He died on November 17, 1925. In those final years, Rose transformed his French style into his own uniquely California brand of Impressionism. His oeuvre includes coastal scenes, missions, figures, and landscapes of California and France for which he is internationally known.

Member: California Art Club; Laguna Beach Art Association; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles; Ten Painters of Los Angeles.

Exhibited: California State Fair, 1882; Sanborn Vail Gallery, Los Angeles, 1891; Paris Salon, France, 1890, 1891, 1894: San Francisco Art Association, 1892; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1896; Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, 1916, 1918, 1919; Stendahl Art Gallery, Los Angeles, 1926.

Awards: Atlanta Exposition, Georgia, 1895; Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York, 1901; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915; California Art Club, 1921; Paris Salon, 1894.

Works held: Bowers Museum, Santa Ana; Cleveland Art Museum, Ohio; Irvine Museum; Laguna Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Oakland Museum of California; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Pasadena Art Institute; San Diego Museum of Art; Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois.

Sources:

Artists in California: 1786-1940, Edan Hughes
Guy Rose: American Impressionist, Will South
Impressions of California: Early Currents in Art 1850-1930, The Irvine Museum