San Gabriel Road, circa 1914 signed 'Guy Rose' (lower right) oil on canvas 24 x 29 1/4in overall: 34 x 39in
PROVENANCE: Stendahl Galleruies, Los Angeles, California Private collection, San Gabriel Valley, California Terry DeLapp, Los Angeles, California, 1991 Redfern Galleries, Laguna Beach, California, 1992 Thence to the present owner
EXHIBITED: Los Angeles, Stendahl Galleries, Guy Rose, October 1922. Oakland, The Oakland Museum, Selections from the Irvine Museum Exhibition, November 13, 1993 - February 20, 1994. Oakland, The Oakland Museum, Guy Rose: American Impressionist, July 1 - September 24, 1995, traveling exhibition. San Juan Capistrano, Romance of the Bells, the California Mission in Art, June 17 - October 14, 1995, traveling exhibition. Athens, Georgia Museum of Art, California Impressionists, July 6 - September 1, 1996, no. 47, traveling exhibition. Irvine, The Irvine Museum, All Things Bright and Beautiful, California Impressionist paintings from the Irvine Museum, November 10, 2010 - June 11, 2011. Irvine, The Irvine Museum, Paradise Found, Summer in California, June 16 - September 20, 2012.
LITERATURE: Stendahl, Earl L., Guy Rose, Los Angeles, 1922, p. 35, pl. 64, illustrated. Stern, Jean, Selections from the Irvine Museum, Irvine, 1992, p. 67, illustrated in color. South, Will, Guy Rose: American Impressionist, Oakland, 1995, noted p. 67, fig. 69, p. 71, illustrated in color. Stern, Jean, Romance of the Bells, the California Mission in Art, Irvine, 1995, p. 105, illustrated in color. Gerdts, William, All Things Bright and Beautiful, California Impressionist paintings from the Irvine Museum, Irvine, 1998, p. 37, illustrated in color.
The most gifted of California's Impressionist artists, Guy Rose was the only artist among the top early Impressionists to be born in Southern California. His father, L.J. Rose, owned the Sunny Slope Ranch, located in the San Gabriel Valley about ten miles east of Los Angeles. The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was a familiar landmark to Guy Rose, who grew up within the "sound of its bells." San Gabriel Road and San Gabriel Mission (collection of Morton and Donna Fleischer), both painted about 1919, are the only known paintings that Rose painted of any California mission. In both cases the mission takes a secondary role as a framework for an interesting little outdoor still-life of pots in the mission yard, or as a barely discernible backdrop for the view of houses and trees along San Gabriel Road.
San Gabriel Road is a more structured picture than many of Rose's landscapes along the California coast. Curiously the artist choose the back of the neighboring buildings rather than a static, more structured portrait of the Mission. He was clearly taken by the location; filled with rich colors, varieties of shapes, lines, shadows and balance. The perspective is similar to that found in Joseph Kleitsch's masterpiece, The Old Post Office. The capturing of a candid offset moment rather than of a more commonly posed composition.
The subject of San Gabriel Road is indeed the fruit stand in the center of the painting. This is clearly evident by the strong linear quality of the composition, created by the diagonal lines of the building, the fence and the effect of the recession in space of the pepper trees. The result is a prominent vanishing point, in effect a large "X" that dominates the composition and draws the viewer's eye to the most colorful part of the painting, the fruit stand. Purple shadows, a prominent color used by Rose's French counterparts, abound. The surface of the work is filled with thick impasto that gives it dimension and richness. Primary colors dappled everywhere. Rose has taken his talents, honed alongside the French masters, and added his own Southern California roots to capture a unique snapshot of life in the early years of the last Century along the San Gabriel road.
(Excerpts from Jean stern's essay The California Missions in Art: 1890 to 1930, from the exhibition catalogue Romance of the Bells, The California Missions in Art, 1995)