It’s chilly winter days in Asheville like today when I especially enjoy perusing California Impressionism paintings. Recently, my boss, Linda Wehrli suggested featuring California Impressionist painter, Guy Orlando Rose for our January Art History 101 Blog. And I’m so glad she did! I was in awe of his beautiful palette and the way he effortlessly captured California light. So grab a warm winter beverage and enjoy our January Art History 101 Blog!

Wait. How did Impressionism come to California in the first place? Hold on. Author Charley Parker of Lines and Colors has the story.

According to Parker, the influence of the radical modern art movement known as Impressionism (oh, my!) came to the U.S in two waves. The first, logically enough, crested on the east coast and produced a number of remarkable American painters, many of whom were in a group of artists in New York and Boston known as “The Ten American Painters”, while others, like Daniel Garber, were centered around an artists colony in New Hope, just north of Philadelphia, and became known as Pennsylvania Impressionists.

In the second, slightly later wave, around the turn of the 20th Century, the influence spread to California, a part of the country that was still remote and difficult reach at the time. (The Transcontinental Railroad wasn’t completed until 1869, and the line connecting Los Angeles to Chicago was finished in 1885, leading to an influx of people, including artists, in the 1880’s.)

Artists like Hanson Puthuff settled in California and found it an ideal place to practice the new style of plein air painting that was blossoming out of the influence of the Impressionists.

Which brings us to Guy Orlando Rose, an American artist who holds a high place in the California School of Impressionism. Born on March 3, 1867 in San Gabriel, CA, he was the 7th child of Leonard John Rose and Amanda Jones Rose. He has become recognized as one of California’s top impressionist painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Now that’s a compliment!

Born the son of a prominent California senator, young Guy Rose was raised on a large Southern California ranch and vineyard in the town of Rosemead. What sparked Guy’s painting interest was a remarkable story – in 1876, he was accidentally shot in the face during a hunting trip with his brothers. While recuperating, he began sketching and painting with watercolors and oil paints. After graduating in 1884 from Los Angeles High School, Guy moved to San Francisco to study art at the California School of Design.

It is interesting that California-born Guy eventually painted in France and was greatly influenced by the masters of French Impressionism. On September 12, 1888, Guy enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris and studied with Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Jules Lefebvre, Lucien Doucet, and Jean-Paul Laurens.  During the 1890s, Rose lived in New York, NY and illustrated for “Harper’s“, “Scribner’s“, and “Century“.

In 1899, Guy and his wife, Ethel Rose bought a cottage in Giverny. (Ah, so jealous!) After moving back to Paris for a few years, he and Ethel returned to Giverny from 1904-1912. During this period, Guy’s work was influenced by friend and master impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

This town was very popular with impressionist painters. One may recognize Monet’s garden! There is even a Giverny Museum of Impressionism. Now that’s a town I’d like to visit. 🙂

Returning to the U.S. in 1913, the Roses held an outdoor sketching school in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Suffering on and off again from lead poisoning (!), Guy and Ethel moved permanently to Los Angeles in 1914. There, he taught and served as Director of the Stickney Memorial Art School.

Sadly in 1921, Guy suffered a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed. On November 17, 1925, he passed away in Pasadena, CA. Stendahl Gallery held a memorial exhibition of his works.

It is without question that Guy had a profound impact on California Impressionism. He won many awards throughout his lifetime. Today, his works can be found in the following public collections: Bowers Museum – Santa Ana, Cleveland Museum – Cleveland, OH, Laguna Art Museum – Laguna Beach, CA, LACMA – Los Angeles, CA, The Oakland Museum – Oakland, CA, ArtCenter College of Design – Pasadena, CA.

We hope this month’s Art History 101 Blog warmed your day, especially for our subscribers in the colder climes!❄

Art History 101 reviews selected artists from periods of history that continue to influence today’s culture and taste. If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to share on your favorite social media. Comments appreciated! If there is an artist you would like us to feature, please comment below. Thank you for your support!

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