Guy Rose (American, 1867-1925) A Normandy farm 23 3/4 x 28 3/4in
Lot 38
Guy Rose
(American, 1867-1925)
A Normandy farm 23 3/4 x 28 3/4in
Sold for US$ 275,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
Guy Rose (American, 1867-1925)
A Normandy farm
signed 'Guy Rose' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 3/4 x 28 3/4in
overall: 31 x 36in


  • Provenance
    Private collection, Pasadena, California.

    Los Angeles, Stendahl Art Galleries, Guy Rose Memorial Exhibition, February 16 - March 14, 1926.
    San Diego, The Peyton Boswell Galleries, Guy Rose Exhibition, May 3 - 30, 1926.

    Earl Stendahl, (Catalog for the) Guy Rose Memorial Exhibition, Los Angeles, 1926, listed as number 15, illustrated p. 23
    Peyton Boswell, (Catalog for the) Guy Rose Exhibition San Diego, 1926, listed as number 6, illustrated.

    Originally hailing from San Gabriel, California, Guy Rose became one of California's foremost Impressionist painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was also an important figure in the California regionalist movement.

    In 1888, Rose studied in Paris under the tutelage of Benjamin Constant, Jules Lefebvre, and at the Academie Julian with Lucien Doucet. He received honorable mention from the 1898 Paris Salon, the first artist from California to be given such high accolades. In the mid 1890s, he returned stateside to New York and taught at the Pratt Institute and was an illustrator for publications such as "Harper's," "Scribners," and "Century." Due to a disabling illness related to lead poisoning, Rose was forced to abandon his art almost entirely around 1897. During the fin de siecle, Rose returned to the French countryside, where he and his wife purchased a cottage at Giverny. While residing at Giverny from 1904 to 1912, Rose became greatly influenced by the works of Monet and the other Impressionist artists in the community. Reinvigorated, he returned to painting and focused mainly on ambient Impressionistic French landscapes.

    The coastal town of Normandy, France was a popular site for many French Impressionist artists and was known as the 'Cradle of Impressionism." Rose worked within the Impressionist technique in order to dissolve natural forms into ethereal patterns of color and implied luminescent shapes. Rose transforms a Normandy farmhouse nestled in a spring landscape into brilliant patches of greens and browns using tender brushstrokes. The title of the painting, A Normandy Farm, is almost misleading, as the foreground of sweeping trees and lush meadows dominate the foreground of the canvas. Yet the meandering dirt pathway and wooden gate guide the eye towards the quant farm house situated in the center of the piece.

    Rose completed a number of paintings specifically focusing on the natural setting and organic essence of the region, often painting from, what appears to be, virtually the same vantage point. Will South writes in his 1995 book Guy Rose, American Impressionist that a comparison could be made in these works to Claude Monet's focus on capturing the same scene in a variety of different lighting conditions. Guy Rose's association with the French master is well documented and one can detect many similarities in style and approach between the two artists. During his years in Giverny, Rose was sure to have many opportunities to study Monet's variations of Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral and London's Houses of Parliament.

    In the current composition, A Normandy Farm, the artist is exploring the tonal brilliance of the classic French countryside. Rose was clearly as fascinated with both capturing the natural beauty of rural settings as well as the essence of the subject through implied movement and spontaneous brushwork. He saw beauty and the potential of worthy plein-air easel paintings to place the viewer within the setting of the painting. In the foreground, delicately applied pigment flecks of bright yellow imply a blooming patch of spring wildflowers relying on the Impressionist technique of optical mixing to suggest shifts of natural light. The artist use of yellow is repeated in the swaying orchard trees of the middle ground, drawing focus to the farm house. Along the pathway, sinuous tree trunks are executed with serpentine brushstrokes with their dark, leafy branches bowing inwards, serving as a framing device on either side of the composition. The artist rendered the grove of trees that line the path firstly and superimposed the cool blue sky last, effectively manipulating perspective to frame the farmhouse. Rose acuity for technical ability is superbly demonstrated through subtle brushwork and compositional placement enhance his affection for en plein-air.

    In Earl Stendahl's 1926 Memorial Exhibition catalogue, he writes about the painting Here is a work that has intimacy. The eye is invited into the heart of it, and is guided by the road and the bridge and the vista between the trees to the quaint old house in the center. The charm of early summer pervades the scene. Green is the most difficult of colors for painters to manage, but Guy Rose never failed to make it yield quality.
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