The Crocker Art Museum, which houses one of the country’s largest collections of California art, announced this week it will be the recipient of a comprehensive collection by the Golden State’s foremost Impressionist painter, Guy Rose.
“Guy Rose was as important to California as Monet was to France,” explains Scott A. Shields, the Crocker Art Museum’s Associate Director and Chief Curator. “He is nationally recognized as one of the most significant American artists of his generation.” Guy Rose was perhaps best known for his landscapes, but was equally skilled at painting still lifes and the figure. His deft touch and approach to color were influenced by French example more so than any other artist of the American West. The collection will feature nearly 40 of Rose’s paintings representing the breadth of the artist’s styles, subjects, and achievements, from an early figurative painting shown at the Paris Salon to his final Monterey landscapes.
“It is a collection that will truly elevate the stature of the Crocker’s collection,” says Lial A. Jones, the Crocker Art Museum’s Mort and Marcy Friedman Director. “It adds immeasurably to our late 19th- and early 20th-century California story and does so in an incredibly beautiful way. This will be one of the most important collections that the Crocker has received in its history.”
Rose’s works, along with art by Ethel Rose, the artist’s wife, as well as ephemera and genealogical papers, will be lent to the Museum by the artists’ grand-nephew, Roy Rose, via The Rose Art Foundation. The collection will ultimately become a permanent gift to the Museum, making the Crocker the nation’s premier gallery for the artist’s work. The first six paintings from the Foundation are now on view. Additional paintings will be loaned over time.
Born in San Gabriel and son of a California senator, Rose won the Avery Gold Medal in oil painting in 1887 while a student at the California School of Design in San Francisco. In 1888, he went to Paris for further training at the Académie Julian, attended anatomy lectures at the École des Beaux-Arts, and won a scholarship at the Académie Delacluse.
Rose spent significant time in Giverny, where, in the company of other Californians, he gained firsthand exposure to Impressionism through proximity to Monet’s famous studio. After moving to New York and illustrating for magazines such as “Harper’s,” “Scribner’s,” and “Century,” Rose returned to France in 1899. He later purchased a cottage at Giverny, where Monet became an important mentor.
After returning to the U.S. in 1912, Rose worked and taught in New York and Rhode Island. In 1914, he moved home to Southern California where he continued to work and trained budding artists at the Stickney Memorial School of Art in Pasadena. Soon after his return West, Rose won silver and gold medals at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in the San Francisco and the Panama-California International Exposition in San Diego.
From this point on, California’s coastline became one of his favorite subjects, and he painted its range from the tranquil, sunny coves of San Diego to the rocky cliffs of the Monterey Peninsula. He depicted this regional diversity in an Impressionist style that, depending on the day, could be either light and airy or deeply saturated in jewel-toned hues. In 1915 and 1916, he visited the seaside communities of Laguna Beach and La Jolla, producing beautiful views of the coast and eucalyptus. In 1918, he began spending summers in Carmel-by-the-Sea, capturing brightly colored, sunny views of Monterey and Carmel Bays, as well as gray, foggy shorelines and subtle green forests.